|RDC CN 1501|
CN 1501 was originally a CN RDC-1, labelled D-108, built in 1958 for passenger service. As an RDC-1 it had coach seats only. All RDCs, except for the RDC-5/9, have two diesel engines driving the wheels, so they are self-propelled and have operator controls at each end.
D-108 was renumbered to CN 6108 in March 1969, then became VIA 6108 in March 1978. I'm not sure when CN acquired it from VIA but it was rebuilt into a rail test vehicle and was in service as CN 15016 in 2010. I heard it was fairly quickly renumbered to CN 1501 when it was realized that CN's dispatching software only accepted four digits for a locomotive number.
Anyway, back on July 27 2016, I heard on RailsMBSK that 1501 was in Symington yard, ready to go east on the Sprague subdivision. Since I only live about 15 minutes away from Symington, and happened to have some time, I decided to run over and see if I could grab 1501 before it got away. It's been in Winnipeg before but I was always either out of town or unable to go see it.
When I was approaching the Sprague sub, I saw a freight train coming into Symington off the Sprague. I made a guess that 1501 had already left, so I headed east on the Trans-Canada Highway.
The highway parallels the Sprague sub for at least 25km so it's a good area to chase. I was hoping to overtake the RDC before Ste. Anne where the railway diverges from the highway.
As I approached the first siding, Lorette, I saw headlights from a westbound train. I pulled over to photograph CN 2874 and 2852 running elephant-style with a mixed manifest.
|CN 2874 and 2852 near Winnipeg|
|CN 1501 in the Lorette siding|
CN 1501 was in the siding, crawling toward the west siding switch. I snapped a few photos as it passed.
|RDC CN 1501|
They pulled through the signals and out onto the mainline, blowing the horn for the Station Road crossing as they went.
|Red-nosed CN 1501|
CN 1501, and partner rail car CN 15008 (not self propelled), both collect rail profile data at one foot intervals. The kind of data they collect is the gauge of the track (distance between the parallel rails), superelevation, curvature, alignment, surface, and wear data. Here's an example, taken from a CN presentation at a 2014 Heavy Haul Seminar (PDF).
|Example rail profile data, from CN|
Rail defect cars are known for leaving a trail of slow orders behind them! It's good, because they are finding issues that can be corrected before a serious accident occurs.
After CN 1501 was on the main line, the RTC lined the switch for the main and 1501 took off. I took a little video with my phone. The engineer gave me a nice toot on the horn as they passed!
I chased them down to the other end of the Lorette siding and grabbed this iPhone shot of them passing the work crew at the east end of the siding.
|CN 1501 approaching the signals at Lorette's east end|
|CN 1501 departing|
- CN TEST train blog posts
- CP TEC train blog posts
- Introduction to RDCs
- CN Safety Technology Toolkit (PDF)