Friday, August 03, 2007
An Afternoon on the Napadogan
I decided to take the afternoon and make a trip to Napadogan (pronounced Napa-DOG-an, not Napa-dough-gan like I keep saying it). Why? I've never been, and I wanted to see the old roundhouse. I knew there was a thunderstorm watch but, hey, it was beautiful at noon. What could happen?
I left Fredericton just before 14:00 and headed north on highway 8, leaving at Taymouth to take the back way since there's construction on highway 107. After I passed through Stanley and approached Cross Creek, I got this bright idea to go to Maple Grove Station to see if there is anything there. According to my Back Roads of New Brunswick book, it is on the CN line. As I got further into the sticks, the sky became very dark and the wind started blowing hard. The rain started falling as I left pavement and started driving through gravel roads in the woods. After a few minutes of that I decided to turn around before a) I got lost, and b) the road washed out. Back to Cross Creek.
As I was driving west on highway 107 in the pouring rain and occasional lightning, I was thinking I must be the stupidest railfan ever for going out during a thunderstorm watch.
I arrived at Napadogan at 15:00. The place was.. underwhelming. There are about six or seven houses there, half of which are abandoned. The roundhouse is still standing but has a bunch of tin shacks appended to it.
I figured I might as well proceed on to Deersdale, since it is not far away. After stopping to check on a stranded motorist, I made good time. The weather cleared as I approached Deersdale, and this sign showed me where to go.
After a short trip through the woods and over a narrow bridge, I was face to face with Irving's Deersdale facility at 15:30. There were trucks everywhere, the CN main line with a siding, and two tracks going into the plant with woodchip cars on them.
The siding ends past the woodchip cars, and there is a signal there. Note the green over red signal, and the bridge past it.
Since the signal was green, I knew an eastbound was coming.. sometime. I set my video camera on my tripod on the north side of the tracks, lined everything up, and waited. After a while the sun came out, so I put sunscreen (and bug spray) on. Cars and trucks shuttled in and out, and eventually Irving security came over. He was quite friendly, and mentioned that in the storm they had some trees come down just outside their plant. After he left, I read my new Canadian Railway Modeler and noted they have a link to my web site in there. Thanks!
After over an hour, I heard the distant thrum of diesel engines and got ready for the train. At 16:41, CN 308* came around the bend. CN 5519, CN 5368, CN 5375, and old friend CN 6021 with a whopping 148 cars of various types. Many of those cars were visibly empty.
* I assume it was 308 based on the composition of the train.
I packed up and headed back to Napadogan again. Since the weather was nice, I decided to walk the line east to the end of the siding and look at the signals there. It is quite a walk! The signals were red over red facing west and dark facing east, so nothing was coming. I left at 17:46 and was back in Fredericton in 56 minutes.