Tuesday, March 10, 2015

ES44ACs on the Sprague

It was a beautiful afternoon on Sunday, March 8th, so I bundled the kids in the car and we headed out to see some trains. I decided to visit the CN Sprague subdivision because, well, that's where I've been going recently. When I reached the intersection of highway 1 with the Perimeter Highway (here), I saw there were two freight trains waiting to leave Symington Yard, and one was already rolling out onto the Sprague. Time for a chase!

I decided to shoot the train coming off the bridge over the Floodway. This necessitated getting my feet a bit wet, as I had to trudge through some wet calf-high snow to get a decent angle. I think this is really more of a summer shot location, but what the heck. This was 3:48 PM.

I had a feeling they were going to meet a train at the Lorette siding (mile 138.2). I don't know why I felt that way - just a "railfan hunch" I guess. Sure enough, there was a train waiting there, headed by shiny new ES44AC locomotives CN 2910 and CN 2944.

The crew dismounted to give the oncoming train a rollby inspection. The engineer was quite friendly and commented that there was a lot of traffic due to the northern Ontario derailment near Gogama. He also said the new ES44ACs pull very well.

Very soon the train was on us and I captured the meet.

This sure beat sitting at home!

It wasn't long before CN 2910 throttled up and headed into Winnipeg. Hopefully they managed to park the train before they ran out of hours!

Once they pulled out, we headed south toward Dufresne (mile 130.9), because I wanted to include the grain elevator in some photos. CN 8912 East was still trucking along but I was able to catch up to it, especially when it slowed down approaching Dufresne. I thought they were going into the siding for another meet. I was able to get ahead of them enough to get the grain elevator in a shot.

For the record it was CN 8921 / CN 2322 / CN 2666 / CN 2182 with no DPU.

Notice their headlights were out. As CN 8921 rolled slowly by, I saw a train entering the siding at the far end. Soon I could see CN 2832 coming up the siding - my second meet of the afternoon.

Clearly this was set up as a rolling meet as neither train stopped, with 2832 crawling along until 8921 East had cleared the west end of the siding.

The RTC was on the ball, lining the switch for 2832 to get on its way without any delay. Fortunately they were going slow enough that I could get on the highway side of the crossing well before the lights came on. Here they are just leaving the siding.

As I sped back toward Winnipeg, I noticed them coming around the bend and decided to stop and take a photo or two. The Prairies have this neat feature where there are connecting roads between the two sides of the 4-lane highway every mile or so, unlike the Maritimes, so it's easy to turn around.

One more turn and I was back on my way toward Winnipeg. I decided to stop at Lorette and catch them passing by. Sadly - for them - they took the siding at Lorette too!

Their meet was soon upon them as CN 3032 blasted by. Meet #3 for me!

This train had CN 3032 and CN 2906, with CN 2824 as DPU power in the middle - lots of ES44ACs this afternoon.

By this time it was 5:05 PM so it was time to get the kids home and make some supper. CN 2832 was still in the siding so I figured they were going to meet another train. After driving for a few kilometres, I saw another eastbound coming so I pulled over to grab one last train.

CN 5685 broke up the ES44AC streak, and CN 2580 was trailing power on this train, composed mostly of autoracks.


A few tank cars and one loaded lumber car... the end.

Not bad... five trains in less than 90 minutes.

Running extra - the day before this (Saturday), I was driving home through a blizzard when I spotted a CN train rolling on the Rivers sub. I pulled off the highway to photograph it but noticed VIA's Hudson Bay (er, VIA 692) rolling the other way and decided to shoot that instead. I only had my iPhone with me but the old saying goes, "the best camera is the one you have with you." Here it is.

6 comments:

Bill Millier said...

Another great job, Steve. Lots of action.

Steve Boyko said...

Thanks, Bill!

Karl A. said...

Nice shots all around, I love the shot of 8921 passing the elevator, you had a cool angle on that one!

Bryan M said...

At Thunder Bay this train was fuelled and then split in two. CN 8921 CN 2322 took a portion followed by CN 2666 CN 2182. Probably because cp preferred shorter length trains in order to fit into sidings. CN crews with a CP pilot right through to St. Cloud south of Sudbury.

Steve Boyko said...

Thank you, Karl! I appreciate the comment on 8921, that was the shot I wanted to get :)

Steve Boyko said...

Thanks for the information, Bryan. I was wondering why all four locomotives were on the head end but that makes sense, easier to split it.