After my planning, it was time to go. My alarm went off at 2:15 AM, and after a shower and a couple pieces of toast, I was ready to roll. The weather forecast was still calling for a chance of thunder showers. I fired up my podcasts and hit the road in the pitch dark, 17 minutes ahead of schedule.
As I drove around on the Perimeter Highway, I spotted an eastbound CN freight train on the Rivers subdivision passing under the highway. Something made me decide to go photograph it, despite the darkness. I exited and chased it up Wilkes Avenue. As I approached the head end, I saw a bright light coming from the rear of the head end, which was odd. Overtaking it, I saw they had three TEST cars behind the two locomotives. I got ahead of the train and stopped before Shaftesbury Boulevard. I quickly put my "nifty fifty" 50mm f/1.8 lens on the camera (it's the most light-sensitive lens I have, and quite inexpensive) and photographed the train.
|Lots 'o' lens flare!|
|TEST cars behind the power|
ATGMS stands for Autonomous Track Geometry Measurement System (not Anti-Tank Guided Missiles like Google suggested) and is a system designed to be added to regular freight trains so railways don't have to run a special train for track testing.
That was exciting. I got back onto the highway and headed up to Headingley and west on the Trans-Canada Highway. The sky started lightening around 4 AM but it was overcast so there was no real sunrise. I bypassed Portage la Prairie and took highway 16 to Gladstone. There was no action on the CP Minnedosa subdivision.
As I approached Gladstone, I spotted a flashing red light just to the right of the highway, meaning the end of a CN train. I exited and went to the grain elevator in Gladstone to find CN train 853 by the elevator. CN 8902 was on the head end.
|Blue hour in Gladstone|
On the way there, I had to stop to capture the former Waldersee school... I think it was a school, anyway.
|Manitoba Pool #166|
|The Glenella grain elevator|
|Manitoba Pool Elevators|
|Corona hotel and elevator in Glenella|
|Parkview Petroleum Products - for sale!|
McCrearyThe town of McCreary has an ex-UGG grain elevator and a preserved train station.
|McCreary elevator and train station|
I do like that UGG logo. It's rare to see it in Manitoba.
I took a few photos of the McCreary train station. It was built in 1912 and closed in 1982. I believe the town bought it in 1997. I saw the museum sign but nothing was open and the windows seem to be mostly boarded up.
|McCreary's train station|
I was just packing up when I spotted a headlight to the southeast. It was CN 853, the same train I saw in Gladstone. I quickly decided on an angle to feature the elevator and station, fired off the necessary test photos to get the exposure right, and took the shot.
After the head end passed, I packed up and waited for them to clear the crossing before heading off to the next destination. I hoped to get them at the highway crossing just north of town, but the crossing lights came on before I got there, so I watched them roll by before carrying on to...
MakinakI took a few back roads to get to Makinak, the first time I had left pavement on this trip. On previous trips I swear I was mostly on gravel but not this time!
I had just pulled up near the elevator when I heard a train blowing for the town crossing. CN 853 was right behind me, so I sprinted over to get a shot with the elevator.
|CN 8902 in Makinak|
At least this turned out.
|CN 853 and grain cars in Makinak|
Like many Prairie towns, Makinak has a lovely church.
After that, it was time to head to Dauphin. I was still on schedule so I had time to divert for this farm elevator I spotted just south of Dauphin. The sun gods smiled on me and lit it up nicely.
Shortly thereafter, I arrived in Dauphin. That's up next!