Monday, April 30, 2007

NB Southern Excursion Train Schedule 2007

NB Southern has announced the dates for the Rally of Hope train rides in 2007. The departure dates and times are:

May 26 (Saturday): 10 AM
May 27 (Sunday): 10 AM, 2 PM
June 9 (Saturday): 10 AM, 2 PM
June 10 (Sunday): 1 PM

All trips depart from Harbour Station in Saint John and go to Welsford and back, and will take about 2.5 hours.

Tickets are $11 per adult and $6 per child (12 and under).

Call (506) 632-5823 to reserve your tickets.

Here is my blog entry for the May 13, 2006 train and the video:

Last? Budd VIA 14 into Halifax videos

Ken Squires has posted a series of five videos showing the Budd-equipped VIA 14 coming into Halifax. I'll show the last two of the series here.

Thanks for posting those, Ken!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

NBSR 2319 update

I'm told 2319 was in full primer Friday, getting ready to have the black paint sprayed on.

Here it is in its yellow days at McAdam on March 11, 2006.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

NBSR 9803 update

I hear 9803 now has 3700's old engine onboard, and the engine was fired up on the 12th. There's lots of work to be done yet, but it's on the way to getting back on the road.

Here's a shot of 9803 at Harbour Station, Saint John on May 10, 2003, by Steve O'Brien.
Railfan Kevin chased VIA yesterday and put his videos on YouTube. Here's the videos he took of VIA 14. 14 was a little special because it had the Telus unit on point with the Loto Quebec unit trailing.

VIA 14 arriving at the West End of Moncton, NB, just west of the station.

VIA 14 arriving at Sackville, NB.

And then arriving at Amherst, NS. You have to drive pretty fast to beat the train from Sackville to Amherst. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

CN 149 at Cantor

Today I decided to do something different and try to railfan CN, rather than the usual NBSR. I loaded the two youngest kids in the van and we headed toward Chipman, leaving Fredericton a little after 10 AM. I figured we had a chance to catch CN 149.

We arrived at Cantor (Hardwood Ridge) at about 10:50. I noticed the east-facing signals were showing green over red, and the west-facing signals were red over red. I parked and started setting up to tape the westbound train that was coming. Suddenly I heard someone say "CN Cantor" on the scanner, so I knew the train was imminent. I finished setting up the tripod, put the video camera on it, and prepared to take some shots.

Suddenly I heard the blast of CN 149's horns as she rounded the corner at the highway 10 crossing.

CN 2200 and 2529 led a long train past me.

And just like that, it was over. I decided to proceed to Chipman anyway, just in case something else came along. The only thing I saw in Chipman was this MOW thingie:

We had a nice lunch at a diner in Chipman, then I drove around a bit. I found this vantage point near a park on highway 123 that offers a good view of the Chipman bridge.

On our way back, I checked the signals at Hardwood Ridge and they were all red.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Upgraded NBEC RS-18s

For the rivet-counters out there, the current list of New Brunswick East Coast Railway RS-18 engines that have been upgraded with the QES system is: 1813, 1819, 1821, 1849, 1851, 1868, and 3000. 1868 has a rebuilt C block and 1821 is supposedly getting one too.

An NB Southern chase

Dave Dineen has posted photos here from his chase of an eastbound NB Southern train on Saturday April 14.

As Dave described them to me:
#013 rounding the curve into the Tracy straight away.
#017-2 is on the straight away in Tracy.
#021-2 a crossing just outside Fredericton Jct, near the lumber mill
#024-2 is at Clarendon.
#027-2, 028 are taken at the highway crossing at Welsford.
#031-2, 032-2 were taken in between the Britain Rd. and the River Rd. along the Nerepis River.
#036-2 is on the straight stretch just outside South Bay.

I found the photos interesting for several reasons. Firstly, I saw a few locations I haven't shot from before. Secondly, where he shot from the same locations the photos are composed differently from my shots. Different perspectives.

I encourage you to check them out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CFMG 403 with a boatload of engines

Trainmasterpat, aka Patrick Sirois, saw CFMG 403 with 11 engines! They had four CFMG/NBEC SD40 units with 7 ex-QNS&L engines. He was kind enough to put the video up on YouTube. Thanks, Patrick!

Photo of green NBSR 2612

My friend Dave Dineen got a shot of 2612 and 2317 shunting the Dever Road yard last week and passed it along. Thanks, Dave! Visit Dave's web site for more NBSR photos.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Transfer Freight Day

I had hoped to catch a glimpse of the newly repainted NB Southern 2612 today in Saint John, and in fact that is what I saw - a glimpse.

At about 09:00 NBSR 2612 and 2317 were sitting by the shops in the Dever Road yard. I could see the top of both units from Dever Road but there was no photo opportunity. As I was driving away I heard someone identifying themself as "NB Southern 2612" getting ready to move - alas, I had no time to wait.

As I drove toward the Reversing Falls Bridge I saw NB Southern's two SW1200 units pushing a gondola over the bridge. I had enough time to pull over at the tourist facility and sprint up the hill to take this shot at 09:12.

I assume the gondola came from the Ocean Steel facility just over the bridge.

Satisfied, I got in my car and headed over the bridge and down the hill past Ocean Steel. Suddenly, I heard a blip on the scanner from a nearby EOT device. Looking up the hill, I saw another train headed toward the bridge! After a quick turn in Thorne's parking lot, I was back at the tourist facility to see them cross the bridge at 09:18.

CN 7079 and 7010 were pulling 17 cars to the Dever Roard yard.

After that bit of excitement, there were no more trains crossing the bridge. :) In Island Yard, CN 2640, 2569 and 2679 were sitting by the shops while NBSR 3701 and CN 7000 shunted the yard.

Nearing Courtenay Bay, I saw the Courtenay Bay Potash switcher going to fetch some cars. The light is great in the morning for an across-the-bay shot but the switcher disappeared behind a string of cars before I could get a picture.

Later at noon, someone brought a long string of potash empties from the potash terminals to Island Yard - I didn't see what the power was, but it wasn't the CN 305 power.

At 14:45, NBSR 3701 and CN 7000 were at Irving Paper, CN 7074 and 7010 were shunting Island Yard, and CN 305 was ready to go down by Tim Hortons on Rothesay Avenue with 2679 leading. NBSR 3702 and 3703 were at the east end of Dever Road Yard but NBSR 2612 and 2317 were nowhere in sight.

I heard that the NB Southern eastbound left McAdam at 15:30 with NBSR 9802, 2610 and 2318.

That's it for today! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Updated Acadian Railway map

I have updated the map on my Acadian Railway site. It appears the rail barge idea has gone by the wayside. That would have been an expensive proposition.

Model train show Saturday

I'll be at the Coverdale Model Railroad Show in Riverview, NB this coming Saturday, April 14. I expect I'll arrive around 11:00 to 11:30 and spend a few hours there with my two oldest kids. Say hi if you see me!

NBSR 2612

I hear NBSR 2612, in shiny green, was at work in the NB Southern Dever Road yard today with still-yellow NBSR 2317. 2612 is not ready for the main line yet - it still needs a few more details.

I'll be in Saint John tomorrow - hopefully I'll catch a glimpse of it.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Devco lives on

I was flipping through my archive of railway magazines, looking for an article on the Crandic I know I read, when I stumbled across an article about the Louisville & Indiana in the July 2006 TRAINS magazine. On page 46 there is a picture of the Columbus-Jeffersonville Turn with two ex-Devco units - 220 and 221. Sure, they're lettered for the L&I but they are unmistakably Devco units. There's a nose photo of 220 at the end of the article that confirms it, with the little dip of the yellow stripe in the center of the nose. Probably most of my readers knew this already but I didn't. :)

Another ex-Devco unit, NBSR 2318, westbound at Welsford on 2005/07/23.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saint John and area Saturday

I took my two younger kids down to Saint John today, to get out of the house, and of course to see trains.

We didn't leave Fredericton until about 11:00 so I didn't expect to see CN 305, and I was right. I didn't get to Island Yard until almost 14:00 and CN 305 left Island Yard before 13:00.

I looked into NB Southern's Dever Road yard on my way in and saw no power at all there. Via scanner I heard someone switching, so I figured they were either at the Port or in behind Moosehead.

Sure enough, there was NBSR 2317, 3702 and 3703 switching the Irving Tissue / Irving Pulp and Paper mill at Reversing Falls. This shot was taken from the hill above the Reversing Falls tourist complex. I moved over to the Simms brush factory parking lot to get this one through the fence. I think this is only the second time I have ever seen a train working this industry.

At 13:50 I passed by Island Yard and noted GP9s CN 7010 and 7079 zipping around the yard.

After lunch and some mall time, we headed back out of Saint John. On the way we saw NBSR 3701 and 7000 kicking a tank car into the Island Yard at 15:40, with 7010 and 7079 snoozing by the shops. Over at Dever Road, NBSR 2317/3702/3703 were coming to a stop by the shops.

It was time to go find the NB Southern eastbound. I had been told that they were going to arrive at McAdam around 14:00. The rule of thumb is that they shunt in McAdam for about 30-45 minutes, and it takes about 2 hours to get from McAdam to Saint John. That would put them into Saint John around 16:30-16:45. I was on the road toward Grand Bay at 16:00, figuring I would meet up with them around Welsford.

I drove all the way through Grand Bay-Westfield without seeing the eastbound, nor hearing it on the scanner. As I entered Welsford, I decided to take the LaFarge road and see if I could hear them down there. I noted several cars on the far side of the crossing and one car in particular was parked near the crossing with a woman in it. I smiled at her and did a little U-turn. Suddenly the scanner came alive.

NBSR 9801 East was calling the RTC to report that NBSR 2318 had a hot wheel and they had cut out the traction motor for that wheel. He also said he was on his way and was passing through Grand Bay.

GRAND BAY! That would mean he was between me and Saint John! I couldn't figure out how he got by me, but I hit the road and headed back, hoping to catch up with him.

I was past Westfield Beach before I really started thinking. How the heck did he know he had a hot wheel on 2318? He must have triggered the hotbox detector west of Welsford. That would mean he stopped in Welsford. That would mean.. he was less than a mile away from me when he made his call to the RTC. That would mean he wasn't in Grand Bay, he was in Welsford!

Another U-turn, and I was heading back to Welsford again. Just west of Westfield Beach, I heard a bleep on the scanner from the End-of-Train unit. I pulled over to a private crossing, and within a minute NBSR 9801 East showed up.

They hammered by me and I jumped back in the minivan to pursue. I decided to try to get them just before the ferry crossing, just east of Westfield Beach. I tried to get the switch signal in the shot but I was too late for that.

I grabbed a few quick shots on the broad curve entering Grand Bay. I like this location a lot.

For my next trick, er, shot, I went to the overpass just east/south of Grand Bay. As I approached the overpass I noted a column of dark grey smoke from near that location. As it turns out, there was a fire in someone's backyard and fire trucks raced by me as I took video of the train. When I upload the video you will hear the sirens in the background.

I shot them one more time, just east of the Marina. I taped the whole train just to make sure I got the consist right. The train was NBSR 9801, 9802, 2610 and 2318, with 44 cars. The cars were 1 covered hopper, 2 cylindrical hoppers, 2 tank cars, 12 boxcars (inc 3 cryo), 9 mty centerbeam flats, 2 doublestack wells, and 16 woodchip cars on the end. Except for the woodchip cars, the rest were randomly scattered through the train.

Not a bad day. I still wonder why the engineer reported Grand Bay when he was definitely still in Welsford. I wish he had reported mileage instead. :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

YouTube videos of the Ocean

While browsing through YouTube I found a few videos of the Ocean I hadn't seen before.

This video, taken March 25 2007, shows VIA 14 with 6421 and 6403 leading a Budd train, with RDC 6135 on the tail. A very interesting video.

This video was shot at St. Lambert, Quebec on September 8, 2006. I can't read the unit numbers but it had a Spiderman unit trailing, with a Renaissance consist and (I think) Assinboine Park on the end.

I met the author of the first video in Rogersville last November when we were chasing the War Brides train. He showed me the following video he took. I do not recommend trying this at home!

New CP employee timetable online

Thanks to Michel Robichaud, I have another CP employee timetable online for your viewing pleasure. He scanned the October 27, 1957 employee timetable for the Eastern Region of the Quebec District. View now

Thanks, Michel!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Top 10 Railfanning Spots in New Brunswick

This list is by no means exhaustive, just my opinion. I'd love to hear about your favourite spots! See them on a map

1. New Denmark, Salmon River bridge (CN)
The impressive railway bridge, the second longest in Canada, makes this the number 1 spot to railfan in New Brunswick.

2. Aulac/Fort Beausejour (CN, VIA)
Whether on the dykes at Aulac, or beside historic Fort Beausejour, you have a great field of view for train watching. This is just outside Sackville.

3. Harvey Lake (NBSR)
Lighting is great here for afternoon trains and the combination of the lake in the foreground and the hill in the background make for some great shots.

4. Gort (CN, VIA)
Park yourself on the overpass on Delong Drive and watch the trains go in and out of Gordon Yard. Shots are better to the west but you get a great view either way.

5. Nepisiguit Junction (NBEC, VIA)
Some great overhead shots of mainline VIA and NBEC trains are possible here, and you can catch the trains going on or off the Nepisiguit Subdivision too.

6. Bull Barn, Memramcook (CN, VIA)
David Morris' favourite spot, there are great shots in both directions. Also great for videos.

7. McAdam (NBSR)
There's nowhere else in New Brunswick you can get close to the trains, see the switching, and you get the historic station in the shot too.

8. Westfield Beach (NBSR)
You can shoot from the overpass, or on the ground at the siding, and get some really nice shots.

9. Clarendon (NBSR)
From the highway you can get some great long-distance side shots of the trains.

10. Jacquet River (NBEC, VIA)
If the time of day is right, you can get broadside shots of the train going over the bridge, or you can choose an overhead shot from the Intercolonial-era iron bridge.

Map of all 10 locations

What are your favourite spots?

CN 436 again

Another CN 436 ran through the Picture Province yesterday, bringing 16 more GM export units to Halifax for shipment overseas. The train was headed by CN 2580 and travelled pretty fast:
2007/04/02 18:00 Joffre, PQ
2007/04/03 10:00 Moncton, NB
2007/04/03 11:40 Sackville, NB
2007/04/03 15:30 Halifax, NS

CN 436 at Sackville
Phil Ross shot the train outside Sackville shortly before it crossed the border.
(image courtesy of RailPictures)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

NBSR and paint

I'm told 2612 is now in the Dever Road shops getting the finishing touches put on it, and the proper numbers in the number boards.

2319 is in the Island Yard shop getting that nice yellow paint replaced with green. (sigh)

Seen in Gordon Yard this morning

CN 5784, 5432, and 5320 with a container train at 08:30. Perhaps 149 being made up?

Monday, April 02, 2007

NBSR 9801 East on Saturday

I took my two youngest kids to McAdam on Saturday to see the NB Southern eastbound freight. We left Fredericton at 13:00 and entered McAdam town limits at 14:00 precisely. I had heard that the eastbound had left Brownville Junction at around 10:00 but it was nowhere to be seen when I arrived. I got some ice cream and headed down to the Maine border to wait. After enjoying our ice cream and waiting in the cold, we decided to head back to McAdam.

It wasn't until just after 15:00 that I heard someone calling the RTC on the scanner. We headed back toward the border, and saw the eastbound about halfway between McAdam and the border. A quick three-point turn on the road led us back to the yard entrance, where I taped them at 15:12.

NBSR 9801 East had 9801, 2610, 2319 and 2318 with 58 cars: 1 bulkhead flat, 5 boxcars, 1 empty centerbeam flat, 4 boxcars, 1 mty c/b flat, 1 boxcar, 4 Procor tank cars, 4 boxcars, 3 mty c/b flats, 8 autoracks, 10 tank cars, and 16 loaded woodchip cars.

We watched them do their drop in the yard and make a small pickup.

As they were preparing to leave, I decided to try a different photo angle. I went up to the church near the highway and shot this from the back parking lot. I like the angle but there's a lot of clutter in the photo.

They left at 15:47 but I was already on my way. I wanted to catch them at Harvey Lake so I needed to be away before them. As it turns out, I had lots of time. It wasn't until 16:25 that they showed up.

They had picked up 3 covered hoppers, and dropped the first 10 cars from the head end, leaving 51 cars on the train.

Once the last woodchip car rounded the bend, that was it.

Video to come soon.