Friday, June 29, 2007

NBEC train 403 today

Just a drive-by today, with NBEC 6900 ready to lead CFMG 6902 and NBEC 1818 out of Miramichi at 15:30.


CFMG 6907 was the power in the yard for 402 to Moncton. There was some MOW equipment beside it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

CPR Track Evaluation Train on the way?

I heard the CP TEC (track evaluation) train was on the Sherbrooke subdivision in Quebec yesterday morning. Hopefully we'll see it come to New Brunswick shortly.

This year it has CP 8218, a box car and stainless cars 64 and 65, totally different than last year's train.

Here's a great shot by Frank Jolin of the train crossing the Richelieu River on June 26 (two days ago).

Monday, June 25, 2007

VIA 15 Hits An ATV

I'm told VIA 15 hit an ATV at Beresford, just north of Bathurst, this evening. Here is a photo of the Ocean stopped at Beresford at 8:04 PM. This photo was taken from the overpass at the highway 11 exit.

I'm told the ATV riders, a father and son, were killed. Nothing on the CBC web site yet.
Kevin G shot a video of CN 306 arriving at Gordon Yard on Thursday, June 21. The freight had CN 2246 and 2633 on the head end, with a DPU* unit CN 2234) roughly mid-way through the 99-car train.

Here's the head end arriving at the yard.


And the tail end in this video. You see 2234 one minute into the video.


* DPU = Distributed Power Unit? A remotely-controlled locomotive in the middle or end of a train to provide additional pulling/pushing power and/or more braking power.

New video online

I've put a video of Saturday's VIA 14 online.

More NB Southern action on YouTube

Gary Lee has posted some videos of the local switcher (currently NBSR 9801) doing its thing in McAdam.

Here 9801 is running light up to the crew shack.


9801 pulls a set of gypsum cars up to the station.


9801 and the caboose, 434919, roll by the station.


Thanks, Gary! Can we see some of the big freight train too?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Windsor and Hantsport

Noting the rumours about the cessation of some freight service on the Windsor & Hantsport, Ivan Smith has created a page documenting what might be one of the last freight runs on the W&H. Check it out!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Trains in Moncton

I was in Moncton today on my way to the Open House at the New Brunswick Railway Museum, and I happened to see a few trains on the way.

CN 6021 was zipping around in Gordon Yard at about 11:40 this morning.


CN 4727 and 4729 were resting. I saw what looked like 4709 and 4719 behind them with a 4xxx GP9.


VIA 14 came in a little late with 6427 and 6405 leading a Renaissance
train, with Evangeline Park bringing up the markers. It arrived at what
used to be West End at 12:04 after stopping at a red light at Marsh
Junction for some reason. I saw the new signals by the station and of
course the West End sign and signals are down.


When I was leaving the Moncton area around 3 PM, I heard the Springhill
RTC having a big discussion with CN 307 about where they would meet VIA
15. They decided to have the 9000 foot 307 stop in Amherst, pull ahead
a bit and let 15 into the station track, then back up to let 15 out.
Apparently they were a bit too long for the 8900? foot siding there.

New Brunswick Railway Museum Open House

I'm off to the open house today at the New Brunswick Railway Museum. The site will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. This will be a casual day, and a great chance to meet and socialize with your rail enthusiast buddies and to hear all the stories about the winter's happenings. It will also be a chance for visitors to wander around the site, and refresh their memories of some of our equipment and artefacts. For others it will be a chance to note the changes since their last visit to our site.

There will be a BBQ from 11:00 to serve up free hot dogs and soft drinks. At about 1:00 PM we will unveil a plaque to honour the CRHA Members, Supporters and Volunteers, who have left this world.

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Saint John's Tuesday Trains

When I arrived in Saint John on Tuesday, I heard NBSR 2317 talking with the RTC. 2317 was heading up the transfer freight trying to get over to Island Yard. There was some MOW work going on near the Reversing Falls bridge that they had to wait for, then they got permission to proceed. Here 2317 and 9803 are going over the bridge at 10:00 with four boxcars and a bunch of doublestack container flats.


I caught them again at Bentley Street:




From the chatter on the radio it sounded like they would have to wait for another maintainer to finish putting some ballast on the tracks before they could proceed to Island Yard.

Speaking of Island Yard, CN 2573, 5559 and 5621 were parked in the yard while CN 7079 and NBSR 3701 did some shunting.

I was fortunate to catch a glimpse of the elusive Courtenay Bay potash switcher. This was literally a stop the car, jump out and take the picture shot, before the switcher disappeared behind a string of cars. That switcher is hard to photograph!

Radio chatter indicated that NB Southern would be sending a ballast train out at 3 PM.

Later in the day, I saw the CN 305 power over at the Courtenay Bay potash terminal. The smokestacks in the background are for the Courtenay Bay power plant, with the short one being the stack for the Bayside gas turbine.


I thought I would try an overhead shot from the Courtenay Bay causeway, so I parked nearby and walked over. I do not recommend this location, as it is not safe. There is no walkway and cars are zipping by at a good clip. Since I was there, I took the shot, but I will not return there again.


This looks dangerous but it really isn't. There was some chatter about when 305 could return to Island Yard. Apparently 7079 had some more switching to do, so 305 elected to go to Cain's Corner so as to clear the potash terminal and let them do some switching. 305 took 45 cars over and stopped just short of the crossing. One crewman walked over to the signal box and made the gates go back up, which is when I got this shot as I drove through the crossing.

Over on the west side, NBSR 3703 was doing some shunting at the west end of the yard. To my surprise, they had CN caboose 79624 with them. I had seen this caboose deep in the yard before, but I never had a chance to take a photo until now. I assume the caboose was there to provide additional braking power for 3703.


It's in pretty good shape, considering.


As I left Saint John, I heard someone say they were cutting one engine out of a consist to use as the ballast train's power. They were taking 10 cars out (+1 = a caboose?) and wouldn't be on the road until at least 15:30, which was too late for me. The eastbound freight was just getting into McAdam at 16:00.

Here's a little clip of 3703 I took with my Canon.

Do You Think Railpictures Would Like This Shot?


...or is there just a bit too much foreground clutter?

A real post to come, about Saint John yesterday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

July 1 Excursion from McAdam

Danny McCracken alerted the RailsNB group that NB Southern is running an excursion on July 1 from McAdam to Harvey and back. Tickets are $15, or $10 for those under 12. Tickets go on sale at noon Friday June 22 at the McAdam Village Office and they are NOT doing phone sales.

I didn't see them last year but Peter Gough did.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Kevin's Photos

Here's a few images that Kevin Gaudet sent me from Kevin's visit to Saint John in May. The first two show CN 7000 and NBSR 2610 at the west end of the ex-CN yard in Saint John.




CN 7010 also made an appearance that day, at the same location.


I embedded a few of Kevin's videos from that day a while ago.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

CP Track Inspection Train?

Has anyone heard about the CP track inspection train, and if it will be visiting us again this year? I heard it was around Montreal in June, with CP GP9 8218 leading tool car CP 424994, accomodation car CP 65 and track evaluation car CP 64. photos

I saw the CP TEC train on June 20 last year. It was a totally different consist, though: CP 8217, CP 68, CP 424993, and CP 63.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New Timetable Online

I have scanned the October 29, 1961 CN employee timetable #3 (covering the Atlantic Region - Maritime Area) and put it online here. Lots of good detail about how CN ran back in the day, including the many wee Prince Edward Island subdivisions.



This timetable was loaned to me by John Falconer. Thanks, John!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Web Site Ramblings

I thought I'd share a few more statistics on my web site, just in case you needed something to put you to sleep.

Web traffic has been pretty constant over the past month, which is fine by me. I'm doing this mostly for myself, and I cover a very specific topic, so I don't expect huge growth or popularity. I'm just glad people find use in my site.

The people who use my site tend to live in North America, more specifically in the northeast portion of the continent, which should be no surprise. Nobody from Greenland or Alaska looked at my site last month - what a pity!

Judging by ad clicks, the most popular section of my site is the videos (27%), with the NB Southern section a distant second (17%) and the CN, New Brunswick East Coast and general New Brunswick sections about tied for third (around 8% each).

I intend to go through my web site and embed some YouTube versions of videos into the basic web pages to provide not only pictures but videos of each unit, if possible. I want to script that so I don't have to go back and update the page itself when I add a video. Similarly, I want to replace the pictures in my web site with references to my photo gallery so people can download higher resolution photos if they are available.

Do you have any thoughts on how I can improve the site for you?

Something A Little Different

Simon Belanger has uploaded an interesting video of a few NBEC/CFMG trains... from Microsoft Train Simulator. Very nice modeling, if you ask me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

New VIA Rail videos on YouTube

David C has put a couple of very fresh VIA videos on YouTube.

The first shows last night's VIA 15 having to stop at Nepisiguit Junction to wait for the NBEC ore train to go onto the Nepisiguit Subdivision. I guess they were running a little late, since normally the ore train goes just before VIA 15. The Ocean had 6400 leading with Revelstoke Park bringing up the rear. NBEC 587 had MLW RS-18s 1851 and 1821 for power.


He then caught VIA 15 leaving Bathurst, crossing the Tetagouche River just before passing through Beresford. I'm not familiar with the location but I like it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Green NBSR 2317


Dave Dineen caught the newly painted NBSR 2317 working the Dever Road yard in Saint John with NBSR 9803. This shot was taken at the west end of the yard, notorious for its poor photo angles. It's something, anyway. :)

New NBSR video online

I made a little video of last Saturday's Rally of Hope excursion train and put it online at the usual place.

The video features three clips: outbound through Westfield, back through Sagwa, and across the Nerepis River at Westfield Beach.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More YouTube videos

While I was shoveling dirt on Sunday (June 10), Kevin G was shooting video in the Moncton-Amherst area and putting them on YouTube. Who was having more fun?

Here is VIA 14 at Shediac Road, proceeding very slowly for some reason. Kevin has a different shot this time, which I think works a lot better than just showing the train going through the crossing from afar. 14 had 6421 and 6405 with 15 Ren cars


Here is VIA 15 with 6409 and 6424 arriving at Amherst.


Kevin got CN/WC 6941 working at Gort while waiting for VIA 15.


And VIA 15 at Gort on its way out of Moncton.


Thanks, Kevin!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dave Dineen's Excursion Train Photos


Dave has put his photos on NERails - follow this link to see them.

He found a few very interesting locations to shoot from. I found the one to the right especially interesting. It's a very tight shot but it works for this short train.

Another NB Southern Excursion Train Chase

I decided to take the kids to go see the afternoon NB Southern excursion train on Saturday. I had hoped that they would meet the eastbound freight at Welsford, but a quick call told me that they left Brownville Junction at around 11 AM and would not be meeting the passenger train. Too bad.

The train was scheduled to leave at 2 PM, and I was well past Grand Bay on the South Bay Road by then. At 14:15 I decided to set up at mile 6 to wait for them, figuring they should be along any time. After about 10 minutes, Dave Dineen came along and we waited together. I heard on the scanner that they were passing NBSR 3703 in the yard at about 14:25 so it was obvious they were late. They showed up at 14:39.


We chased them from there, but we were stuck behind a very slow yellow car and did not catch up to them for quite a while. They passed under us at the overpass by the Co-Op in Grand Bay, and we finally started (slowly) catching up to them through Grand Bay. Another slow vehicle kept us from getting ahead of them until we had left Grand Bay. I chose to get them at Westfield Beach, at 14:57.


Right after they passed the siding, they slowed right down. It became clear that there was a slow order between mile 14 (Westfield Beach) and mile 17. Too bad for the passengers, good for us! I think it was a 10 MPH slow order so it was no problem at all to keep leapfrogging the train.

Here they are at 15:03 just past the Westfield Beach overpass.


And again at 15:08 at Sagwa?



A little farther down the line at 15:12. Notice the railfan on the side of the road filming the train. I didn't recognize this person.

I always wanted to shoot a train on the bridge at mile 17. This was my chance!


They opened it right up after that and I barely beat them to the LaFarge road crossing. I slapped the tripod up, turned the camera on, and just managed to catch this at 15:19.


I taped them at the highway 7 crossing at 15:23, then went to the west end of the siding to see 9803 run around the train. They had to stop to line the switches, go through derails, etc. so it is a bit time-consuming to do the runaround.

They went back across highway 7 at 15:50. Here they are at 16:04.


I shot them at 16:06, taped them at 16:08 and shot them again at 16:10. Thank you, slow order!

For my final shot, I decided to try shooting them at Westfield Beach from across the Nerepis River. I crossed the river beside the old CN line and set up at the little trail shack on the other side. They showed up at 16:20. The shot was a little hazy and they were behind the MOW equipment in the siding, but hey, it was worth a try.


After all that excitement, I thought I might have a chance to get the eastbound freight too. We proceeded up the back way through Wirral, Hoyt and so forth. As I approached the lumber yard outside Fredericton Junction, I saw boxcars going the other way at 17:00. I turned around but they got to the highway crossing before I did. I caught up to them by the Hoyt Station Road and I decided to try to get them at Enniskillen.

That was a bad choice, as it took too long to get down to the tracks from the highway. I should have kept on to Wirral - it's closer to the road. As it happened, I saw the crossing lights on as I approached the crossing and NBSR 9802 East burst through as I was slowing to stop. The train had NBSR 9802, 2319, 2318 and 9801 leading a 57-car consist:
2 MEC hoppers
13 extra-height boxcars
4 MEC hoppers
6 extra-height boxcars
2 cryo boxcars
5 extra-height boxcars
2 cryo boxcars
1 long boxcar
3 extra-height boxcars
2 cryo boxcars
1 extra-height boxcar
2 DTTX container flats (one single, one doublestack)
3 autoracks
1 empty centerbeam flat
10 woodchip cars (BAR, NBSR, MMA)

244 axles, according to the Hoyt hotbox detector.

We gave up after that, and headed for home through Fredericton Junction.

Other excursion train posts:



VIA 15 at Gloucester Junction

Another video found on YouTube - this one of VIA 15 at Gloucester Junction outside Bathurst with VIA 6400 leading. Nice work.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Cracked Railpictures again

With a lot of persistence, I finally got two more photos into Railpictures.net.

This one, of the Rally of Hope train from two weeks ago crossing the Reversing Falls, and this one of the same train at Welsford. I must have caught the screener in a weak moment. ;)


Only 5 more before I will be listed in the photographer list and be considered a "real" photographer. ;)

Acadian Railway photos

Ron Grant was on the "promo train" before it first started carrying passengers and has some photos online.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Other Acadian Railway


I wanted to take a minute to talk about the "other" Acadian Railway, the tourist operation that ran in 2002 and 2003.

The railway operated up to ten Budd cars between Montreal and Saint John, on daylight-only trips on the "Acadian". Passengers stayed overnight at hotels in Greenville, Maine. Sharon McDonnell chronicled her trip in TravelLady Magazine. The first Acadian train ran on June 11, 2002.

They had another train, the "Lake Champlain", between Montreal and New York City. If I recall these were private cars tacked on to the end of Amtrak trains but I may be wrong. Anyone know more details?

They featured numerous trip packages that included side trips to Maritime tourist attractions, and linked up with tour buses and VIA Rail.

On June 5, 2003, the Acadian Railway stopped operating excursions. They informed the Canadian Transportation Agency on July 14 that they no longer had insurance, and in order number 2003-R-494 their certificate of fitness was revoked.

The president, Randy Parten, cited numerous reasons for the termination (such as a depressed economy, SARS, and mad cow disease, of all things) but the reality was that ridership was low. There were some discussions about resuming operations in 2004 but that did not happen.

I regret very much that I never saw the train, even once. My good friend David Morris has photos of every run so I hope I can present a few photos from him.

In the interim, have a look at these photos. The photo above is from the same site.

Bill Linley featured an article on the railway in the July 2002 Transport 2000 Atlantic newsletter.

By the way, do not go to acadianrailway.com unless you want unwanted software installed on your computer. The domain name has been taken over and is being abused.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Maintenance Day

I've been travelling to a plant outside Saint John the past couple of days, but I haven't seen any trains. Today, though, I saw train-like things, if that counts.

I heard a lot of MOW chatter as I was driving home, so I took the Grand Bay road home. I stopped to take a new photo of the caboose in Grand Bay.

As I turned away from the caboose, a blonde leaned out of a passing car and yelled, "... nice caboose!" I'm pretty sure she was saying "you have a nice caboose" but I could be wrong.

I heard foreman S.P. talking with the RTC, who said the eastbound left McAdam at 13:40. I was pretty excited, since it was 15:00 when I heard that, so the eastbound should be coming through Welsford any time, right? Right?

Wrong.

I quickly realized that the NB Southern RTC always talks in Eastern time, not Atlantic, so the times he mentions are an hour behind. Why? I don't know.

Anyway, it turns out there was quite a MOW crew in the siding at Westfield Beach.


The new Nordco machine was there. What the heck does this thing do?


By the way, I created a new photo album for NB Southern maintenance-of-way equipment.

I didn't have time to hang around to wait for the eastbound, so I headed home without seeing a train. Pity - it was a lovely day for photographs.

NB Southern Excursion Trains This Weekend

Just a reminder... NB Southern is running their Rally of Hope trains this weekend. The departure dates and times are:

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

They depart from Harbour Station in Saint John and go to Welsford and back.

I just called and they are completely sold out. Good for them!

Paint Shop Boys

I'm told NBSR 2317 is just about finished being repainted into NBSR green at the Island Yard shops. NBSR 2610 is being prepared in the Dever Road shops for its turn. Once both of those units are done, every NBSR unit will be green.

"It's not easy being green." ;)

Kentville Roundhouse petition

If you have a minute, please consider signing the Save the Kentville Roundhouse petition. There is some development planned for downtown Kentville, and the town council has approved the demolition of the old Canadian Pacific roundhouse, the last roundhouse in Nova Scotia. This structure should be preserved as an example of the rich railway history of the Maritimes.

Please provide your address when you sign. It will not be displayed but it will provide an indication of where people are from, and add credibility to the petition.

www.petitiononline.com/RAG/petition.html

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Upcoming UPM Plant Closure in Miramichi

UPM-Kymmene has announced it will close the Miramichi mill in August 2007 for 9-12 months, citing weak demand and the strength of the Canadian dollar as factors. This will be a huge blow to the economy of the Miramichi area (and beyond) and will definitely affect the New Brunswick East Coast Railway's operations in the area. UPM is their main customer in Miramichi and no doubt there will be layoffs on the NBEC as a result of this.

This is not a permanent closure (yet) but it looks grim. Coming on the heels of the announcement that Weyerhauser's facility will remain closed, things are looking bad for Miramichi.

CBC report

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Acadian Railway update

Planning continues on the Acadian Railway project. I received an update yesterday and I'll pass along what I can.

Route selection is still ongoing. Initially a rail barge was planned to Lameque but this has been replaced by an intermodal transfer facility. Chances are the route could change again before it is finalized this summer. Route selection is a tricky business. You have to try to connect to the most shippers possible, while minimizing cost and doing the least damage to the environment.

As I mentioned the planners are looking at EPA Tier 2 locomotives to achieve good fuel efficiency and minimize the effect on the environment.

I'm not sure what else I can pass on yet but I'll try to keep you posted.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Saint John stations

Jim Robertson was asking if I had a photo of the first VIA station in Saint John. I'm not sure...

This photo was taken on June 28, 1980 by Art Clowes.

Now this photo was taken on July 6, 1994 and is the building that is still by Harbour Station (although it is not a VIA station).

The question is: is the first photo the same building as the second one?