Monday, January 11, 2016

Business Cars on CN

The kids and I were bored on Sunday afternoon, so I decided to "take them" railfanning. Aren't I a good dad? ;)

As we approached the CN Sprague subdivision south of Symington yard, I saw a long string of autoracks. I investigated and found three SD40-2s and a slug with a long string of cars ready to shove up the hump (consist).

I was thinking of driving up Plessis past the yard, but as I crossed the track by Tinker Town, I glanced south down the line and saw a very distant headlight. Train!

I turned right and headed down highway #1 toward Lorette siding. It became obvious that the train was in the siding at Lorette so I pulled up and parked on Station Road (here) at the north end of the siding.

The train was CN 3036 with four business cars on the head end! A lucky find. They were just crawling up to the end of the siding when I arrived.

I stepped out in the brisk (-27C) weather and walked along to photograph each car. The lead car was CN 1710, FRASER SPIRIT. 1710 is a power car, and I could hear the generator running, especially since Tier 4 ET44AC locomotive CN 3036 was so quiet.
CN 1710, FRASER SPIRIT
The next car was IC 800413, GREAT LAKES.
IC 800413, GREAT LAKES
Here's a closeup of the classy Illinois Central observation platform.
Closeup of GREAT LAKES' observation platform
That would be fun to stand on while the train was rolling along!

The third passenger car was a dome, IC 800723 / CN 99 AMERICAN SPIRIT.
IC 800723 / CN 99, AMERICAN SPIRIT
I'm just not sure which number the car is!

The fourth and final passenger car was IC 800653, SANDFORD FLEMING.
IC 800653, SANDFORD FLEMING
This is a theatre car, with theatre-style seats inside and a large rear window. When I saw it the window was covered up a large roll-up door.

That would be a fun place to be, too!

Anyway, the train sat there in the siding, obviously waiting for a meet. I stood outside taking photos and waiting. I was well-dressed for the -27C / -17F weather:

  • Snow boots
  • Jeans
  • Three layers on my torso - T-shirt, hoodie, parka
  • Toque with hoodie hood on
  • My Freehand gloves with winter mittens on top
Thankfully there was no wind.

Every now and then, I walked over to the crossing to check the signal facing north. After 25 minutes, it was green over red and I saw a headlight in the distance. The meet was on!

My camera was getting a little sluggish in the cold and the battery light was blinking. I had a spare in my pants pocket but I decided to stick with the battery and trust that it would last long enough for the meet.

Here's CN 2842 approaching the crossing. That's my car to the left.
CN 2842 at a crossing

I boosted the exposure quite a bit as the sun was very close to the horizon by this point (4:39 PM).

Here's the meet.
CN 3036 meets CN 2842 at Lorette
The crew were on the ground for the inspection.

Inspecting the passing train

The eastbound train had CN 2871 as the DPU, near the rear of the train.
CN 2871 at Lorette
Note The Moving BOX on the well car ahead of the locomotive. I've never seen that before! I must confess that I don't pay a lot of attention to containers. You see OOCL, Triton, Tex, Zim, APL and so forth quite a bit, as well as CN and CP domestic containers. Occasionally something like the above container pops up...

Once the train passed, the crew got back on 3036 and they were on their way. In the cold, 3036 was smoking like a steam engine as they accelerated away. It turned out that the train did have a DPU, shiny CN 3005.
CN 3005 at Lorette, Manitoba
That was the end of the light and therefore the end of my railfanning. We hit the road back home and made supper.

Before getting in the car, I made sure to protect my camera gear from condensation due to the change in temperature. You do not want condensation in your lens - think fungus. I had left my camera bag on the trunk to get it down to the outside temperature. Once I was done shooting, I put the camera in the cold bag and zipped it closed before putting the bag in the car. At home, I brought the bag inside and left it alone for a few hours until it came up to room temperature. It's good to remember to take the card out before putting the camera in the bag!

Stay warm!

10 comments:

Eric said...

Found this online, Steve:
All cars that operate in interchange are required to be in UMLER and to have an AEI tag that contains specific UMLER info including Reporting Marks and a Number.

At one time Amtrak issued 800000 numbers to anyone who asked for one so there are a number of cars that still have 800000 numbers that are not Amtrak certified. These cars may also have different reporting marks with a different number. When these cars move in freight service they still have to be identified by one number. They do not move in Amtrak service.

Cars that are Amtrak approved will carry an 800000 number and will have reporting marks. This info is in the AEI tag. Some of these cars carry a name that reflects their history. IE. Business Car NYC-3 carries Amtrak number 800384 and either PPCX or RPCX reporting marks. The 800000 number is its official number. The NYC-3 identity is its Name.

When car owners submit a move request to Amtrak it asks for the 800000 number and the Name of the car. There is no confusion among the car owners, Amtrak or the Railroads because UMLER rules. When one of these cars moves in freight service it is identified by its UMLER reporting marks and number.

Steve Boyko said...

Very cool, Eric! I did not know that.

I went back and looked at the photos and I can see the AEI tag hanging from frame just in front of the rear truck.

New Beginnings Farmstead said...

Nice post I wonder where those cars where headed.

Steve Boyko said...

I understand they were spotted in Edmonton, AB already.

Karl A. said...

That was a cool catch. Thanks for sharing the pics with us!

Michael said...

I always find it odd to see the old CN colours juxtaposed behind the modern CN logo on these cars. Great catch. Thanks for sharing these.

Steve Boyko said...

Me too, Michael - I do like seeing the green and black though. :)

Steve Boyko said...

You're welcome, Karl!

Mark Budka said...

The GREAT LAKES was originally ICRR business car 1. The dome is obviously former Union Pacific or its Wabash counterpart. I used to know several old pre-1972 Illinois Central employees in Iowa. After Canadian National got ahold of it under NAFTA, they started calling it INTERLOPING CANADIAN. When all is said and done will everything from Point Barrow to the South Mexican border be called UNITED STATES OF NORTH AMERICA? Could we rename Saskatchewan "ATHABASCA"? That's easier to spell. I should think of way to remember how to spell it Sask at chew on. Just change the "o" to "a".

Steve Boyko said...

Hi Mark, thanks for the details on GREAT LAKES and the back story on the Interloping Canadian. I don't know about the United States of North America - why not just Canada and Canada South? ;)

It takes a bit of practice to spell (or say) Saskatchewan.