Monday, August 08, 2011
The Balgonie Grain Elevator
I shot the Viterra grain elevator in Balgonie, Saskatchewan, just outside Regina. Balgonie itself has a short stub track for maintenance vehicle. The Viterra elevator is just on the Regina side and is quite a big one.
The facility is surrounded by a field of golden yellow canola. This is the stuff that canola oil is made from. It's everywhere in Manitoba and Saskatchewan right now... that and the blue of flax.
There are five tracks at the facility. This was shot from a farm crossing.
With five tracks, you would figure it would have some kind of car moving device. It certainly does - a Shuttlewagon rail car mover.
These babies roll on rubber tires and can haul quite a bit. The smallest (the SWX315) has a drawbar pull of 27,000 lbs. and the largest (the SWX735) has a drawbar pull of 50,000 lbs. That's a lot. Keep in mind that the Shuttlewagon is obviously not going to go at a very high speed, and has limited stopping power. You would not want to try stopping a string of freight cars with this thing. They do have quite a lot of options including remote control, air conditioning, train brake gauges, and so forth.
The last traditional elevator Balgonie had appears to have been a Saskatchewan Pool elevator. Here's a Flickr photo from Pistol Dave from 1997.
This article features a shot of the same elevator from May 2001.
At one point there were about half a dozen elevators in Balgonie. You can see a photo of Elevator Row on the Town of Balgonie history page. Click through the slideshow of old pictures.