I decided to try to catch the NBSR eastbound freight in Maine today. I heard it was leaving Brownville Junction at 10:00 and heading straight to McAdam, so I figured if I crossed the border at 13:30 or so I would be fine to catch it near Vanceboro. I did some painting downstairs and then headed out.
I arrived in McAdam shortly before 13:00 and found NBSR 9801 idling by the station. I should say it was idling then the SmartStart kicked in and shut the engine down. I took a few shots of it, and the engineer's radio blared out something about NBSR 2318 East. Uh oh, the eastbound was imminent.
I jumped in the van and headed for the border, but they were already across. I taped them at the yard entrance and then went back to the station.
The incoming train had NBSR 2318, 9802 and 2612 with 4 MMA boxcars, 5 autoracks, and three woodchip cars. Very short!
They dropped 4 MMA boxcars, picked up two cars, and tacked NBSR 9801 on the front of the consist. That's the first time I've seen them put the south job engine on the front. Presto, NBSR 2318 East became NBSR 9801 East.
They left McAdam at 13:45 with a short train consisting of NBSR 9801, 2318, 9802, 2612, a cylindrical hopper, a tank car, 5 autoracks, and three woodchip cars.
I went to Harvey and waited for them near the crossing. After about ten minutes I heard them blow for the crossing near Little's campground, then a few short toots.. then nothing. I kept expecting them to roll around the corner but they didn't. After about fifteen minutes of that I went up the road to peek around the corner a bit. The scanner chirped with the FRED's chatter but no sign of the train.
While I waited I noticed some ducks in the lake near my feet, so I took a few photos.
Finally they rolled around the corner at 14:40, only to stop by the ball field to encourage the teams playing there with a few toots. Nice community spirit! They rolled through the crossing at 14:44 and the chase was on.
I made haste to Cork to try to get them there, and I beat them there by about 20 seconds. I managed to tape them through the open passenger window before they rolled by at 14:55.
I gave chase, and they slowly pulled ahead as I was only able to make 50-60 km/h on the bumpy dirt road. I almost pulled even with them when they got to the crossing at mile 52 at 15:05.
It was easy to beat them to the next crossing at mile 49 at 15:12.
They slowed down approaching the crossing at Tracy, so I was able to shoot them at 15:15 and again down the road at 15:17.
When they crossed the bridge at Fredericton Junction at 15:21 I took a quick shot out the passenger window but it was horribly backlit.
My next shot was just after the highway crossing at Hoyt, across a farmer's field. I had been hoping to get this shot for some time. They rolled through at 15:28, the sun came out, but it was a little hazy.
I caught up to them after they passed Hoyt and the hotbox detector there, and decided to try the Clarendon shot next, despite the haze. They came through at 15:47.
You can really see how the paint on the 980x units is faded, compared to the freshly painted units.
I tried to get them at Welsford Lake at 15:51 but I didn't get my gear out in time. They rolled through the hotbox detector and it sounded five alarms, all on the second-to-last car. They stopped in the siding and the conductor went back to cut the brakes out while I set up at the south end of the siding.
They were on their way by 16:03 and I waved goodbye as I turned for home.
3 hours of train chasing, 260 km on the road, 15 minutes of videotape, 70 still photos, $30 of gas... priceless.