Armed with the knowledge that the CP track evaluation train was coming, I decided to head to Fredericton Junction right after supper to try to catch it before it got too dark. My two youngest kids and I hit the road at 17:50 and raced to the Junction. As we went by Tracy, the scanner lit up with a conversation between the RTC and NBSR 2319 East, the freight train, at 18:24. The gist of what they said was:
- NBSR 2319 East was between mile 36 (Hoyt) and 24 (Welsford).
- The CP train was still in McAdam, being refueled.
Knowing that, I knew I had lots of time before the CP TEC train showed up. We parked by the Fredericton Junction station and I let the kids run around for a while, before loading them back in the van to go up the line toward Cork. Since it had just rained, I figured the dirt road was not worth traveling on, so we parked in sight of the crossing at the end of pavement at mile 52.48. I put a DVD on and broke out the snacks.
At 19:34 the scanner chirped an EOT signal ("train nearby!!") so I jumped out of the van and ran toward the crossing. The lights came on and I saw headlights in the distance. I taped them there then set off in hot pursuit. I passed a sluggish pickup truck and got to the crossing at mile 49 about 30 seconds before the train got there at 19:40. Then it was off to Tracy.
The train was CP GP9 8218, tool car (boxcar) CP 424994, accomodation car CP 65 and track evaluation car CP 64. The last two cars were stainless steel cars.
The crossing lights were on at Tracy as I approached, and unfortunately I got behind a very slow pickup. I watched in despair as it started pulling away from us, but fortunately the other lane was clear when we got to the 80 km/h zone and I pulled over the dotted line to make my escape. I got to "downtown" Fredericton Junction in good time, parked near the caboose and walked across the tracks to get a shot of the train with the CP caboose in the background at 19:48.
Given the failing light and the kids needing to get to bed at a reasonable hour, I gave up the chase there and headed home.
Hopefully someone can get some still shots of the train in Saint John before its return next week. If I hear when it is coming back, you'll be the first to know.
The video is online now.
VIA trains 111 and 112, December 1980
12 hours ago