Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Pump It Up
"I've got my groove on and I'm ready to go
Check out my right girl, but don't touch my radio
Don't you know, pump it up, You got to pump it up,
Don't you know, pump it up, You got to pump it up…"
"Pump It Up", Danzel
I took my daughter up to a birthday party off Inkster Boulevard on Sunday afternoon, and after I dropped her off, my son and I went in search of trains. Since I mostly shoot CN, I thought I might try to find some CP trains just west of Winnipeg in the Rosser area. We headed out Inkster and found a set of headlights by the elevator at Makwa.
I have to be careful about the location here. The elevator at Makwa says "ROSSER" on it but CP calls it Makwa, so that is what I shall do. Rosser is a regional municipality and the actual "town" of Rosser is a few kilometres west of Makwa, with the CP control point called Rosser just west of that.
ANYway, it turns out that CP #210 / CP 8652 East was sitting on the main line by the elevator with an intermodal train behind it. They had just set off these units: CP 6602, 5420, and 5949.
At first, they were waiting for a light to take their train into Winnipeg. After a testy exchange with the RTC, they got their light, but they were unable to move because they couldn't get the air in the train up to an acceptable pressure.
If you know anything about train brakes, you know that the air line connecting all the cars together gets a bit leaky in cold weather. I'm sure with four units they had no trouble compressing enough air to keep the pressure up, but with a single unit they were having great difficulty maintaining pressure. Without adequate pressure they can't move, because they can't guarantee they can stop the train if they need to.
The problem is that the CP Carberry subdivision is now single track and there were two eastbound trains stuck behind them, one at Rosser and one near Meadows. I'll bet the RTC was wishing he had two tracks at that point! I could see the headlights of the train at Rosser from Makwa.
There were three other railfans at Makwa taking photos, and I introduced myself before we all took off to shoot the train at Rosser. That turned out to be CP 104, with CP 9781 on point.
You can just see the headlights of the NEXT train at Meadows on the left side of the photo.
We all headed off to Meadows next. I found the train a little east of the actual town of Meadows, a short train with CP 9150 as the sole power.
I took a few shots, and then heard its crew call the RTC and ask if their now-green light was legit. They were cleared to proceed on signal indication, so I took that to mean that the air was finally pumped up and things were moving. I rolled on through Rosser and passed CP 104, before pulling over to shoot them rolling up to Makwa.
I was in a bit of a rush and I made the mistake of not wearing my gloves. The temperature was about -28C and my hands were REALLY aching by the time the video was done. Stupid railfan trick #27.
I jumped back in the car and put my gloves on for the next train! Soon enough CP 9150 rolled along. I changed position to include the elevator and the set-off units in the shot.
It was time for supper after that, so off we went.
Pump it up!