Monday, June 20, 2011
On May 18 I was driving home along the CN Rivers subdivision when I spotted this "tie train". A truck was at the head of five flatcars containing ties and a crane. This was quite remiscent of the Herzog tie train I saw in February.
The truck is labeled as CN 433-29 but also CN 074056 on the door. Very confusing. It is a Brandt rail-mounted truck built on a Western Star truck chassis, and includes couplers at both ends, headlights on the roof, flashing lights and a horn.
The crane, CN 691-00, was apparently picking up old ties. When I stopped it was not moving, perhaps in preparation for a passing train.
The complete train consist was:
As I went on my way, I was stopped at the Perimeter by a short CP train heading north on the La Riviere subdivision. The usual suspects CP 1128 and CP 3028 were leading, but what was interesting was the set of 9 "branchline rehabilitation" hoppers trailing the power.
Each are labeled "Government of Canada Branch Line Rehabilitation" / "Gouvernment du Canada Remise en Etat des Embranchements Ferrovaires". They are 263,000 lb cars - light enough for light branch lines, of course!
Canada spent around $1 billion in the 1970s and 1980s to rehabilitate Prairie branch lines. CN and CP bought numerous hoppers under this program, as well as material to upgrade fragile Prairie branch lines. No doubt this extended the life of some branch lines, but in the end a lot of them were abandoned anyway and more are still being abandoned.
CN and CP retain ownership of the hoppers and they are used for maintenance work on occasion. CN's are painted orange.