I flew out of Winnipeg on Sunday afternoon, June 22. As we climbed out of the city, I saw the Prairie Dog Central passenger train approaching their home station at Inkster Junction. Too bad I couldn't reach my camera! The flight to Vancouver was comfortable and uneventful. I spent my time in YVR in the Air Canada lounge, typing away on my laptop and watching a Lufthansa 747 get loaded and taxi out.
|Lufthansa 747 at Vancouver Airport (YVR)|
On Monday morning (June 23), as I drove past the CN yard to the mill I was working at, I spotted the two VIA Rail Skeena trains parked nose to nose at the northwest end of the yard.
|VIA Rail Skeenas in Prince George|
After work on Monday, I did some serious railfanning. Let's look at the map for Prince George.
The CN yard runs east-west with a bit of a tilt. 1st Avenue parallels the south side of the yard for its entire length, so it's pretty easy to see it. At the east ("right") end, River Road goes over the tracks between the yard and the long GTP bridge over the Fraser River. At the west ("left") end Cameron Street crosses over the end of the yard. This is nice for railfans as you can see down both ends of the yard.
The north side of the yard is taken up with industries as well as the CN Intermodal Facility. A lot of containers are stuffed with lumber products to be taken to Prince Rupert for shipment to Asia. I saw a container picker truck working pretty much non-stop.
The VIA Rail station is located a few blocks east of the intersection of highway 16 and 1st Avenue and it shares the building with the BC Tourism office.
Back to Monday evening. The first train I spotted was a CN grain train heading east. It rolled through the yard and stopped at the east end for refueling and a crew change.
|CN 5407 in Prince George|
|The CN Prince George yard, viewed from the east|
That yard shunter rolled closer and closer, and I was interested to see that it had a slug as well as a Wisconsin Central engine.
|CN 7231 in Prince George|
After a while, they came back again and I had relocated to 1st Avenue to shoot them from the side, having tired of shooting toward the setting sun! This provided a good side view of WC 2003.
|Wisconsin Central 2003 in Prince George|
This magnificent structure stretches 810 metres over the Fraser River. Construction began in August 1913 and the bridge was completed in 1915. The bridge has a single track with a roadway on each side. These roadways were used for cars and pedestrians from 1915 until 1987 when the Yellowhead Highway bridge was completed. The roadway is still used by CN, as I saw a hi-rail pickup zoom across it.
After the short train rolled across, I went down to the nearby river walk and took a few photos of the bridge.
|The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway bridge in Prince George, BC|
|Lift section of Prince George railway bridge|
I decided I had to go to the other side of the bridge to see what was there. There's quite a junction there on Pickering Road.
There are a few interesting details around. There's a scanner nearby to read the ID tags on freight cars, there's a rail lubrication site to lube the curves, and a few abandoned buildings nearby. I noted the prominent CN "private property - no trespassing - violators will be prosecuted" signs where the road crosses the many tracks, so I didn't go there... too bad, because I'd like to see how all that complex track works.
While I was looking around, a CN local came rolling by, pulling a lot of wood chip cars.
|CN 7257 and company in Prince George|
The wood chip cars were a motley mix of CN cars, BC Rail cars, and these "Eurocan" cars lettered for CN.
|Eurocan wood chip car in Prince George|
Eurocan was a mill in Kitimat, BC that closed in early 2010. There are quite a few of these cars in Prince George, feeding the local mills.
I noted Loram grinder LMIX-608 was in the siding nearby. I went back to the yard and spotted an intermodal rolling through the yard, led by CN 2668 and CN 2324. By then I was beat and I headed back to my hotel for the night. It was a long day!