Continuing after visiting Piney, Manitoba... After we visited the Piney train station, a bathroom break was desperately required. Our options were definitely limited...
- There is no public washroom in Piney - I did consider checking out the community centre but I assumed it was locked.
- We hadn't seen any kind of gas station or other possibility for a public washroom since Steinbach, almost an hour away
- The border town of Sprague was 20 minutes away
As we approached South Junction, I saw a sign for a Co-Op gas station. HOORAY! I pulled up to the pumps and my family ran into the station to take care of business while I topped up the tank. The gas price was reasonable - 89.9 cents/L I believe. I went inside to pay and use the facilities, then we all got back into the van.
I knew South Junction used to be the east end of the CN Ridgeville subdivision that Piney was on, so I wanted to check out the track and see what traces of the sub were still evident. We drove over to the CN Sprague subdivision and I parked near the tracks and stepped out with my camera.
I took a few photos of the area, and as I was looking around, I heard an unmistakable noise in the distance - big diesel engines! Soon headlights came into view to the east and CN 2855 West came thundering through the crossing.
|CN 2855 and 2832 leading a grain train through South Junction, MB|
|Some kind of railway building?|
I'd like to come back and see if I could find some dates on that track!
There is a pretty sizable church in South Junction too, the Our Lady of Assumption (Roman Catholic) (Manitoba Historical Society page).
|Our Lady of Assumption church in South Junction, MB|
VassarI wanted to stop by Vassar to see the old train station there. I understood it was in much better shape than the Piney train station.
When we got to Vassar, CN 2855 West was rolling through.
Once the train passed, I saw that the station was well off the road and apparently on private property. You can catch a glimpse of it from the road at the east/south end of the siding.
Here's Vassar siding - 13,529 feet.
CarrickIt's Woodridge on the map but I'm pretty sure it's known to CN as Carrick. When we got there, "our" freight train was rolling through.
|Grain cars rolling through Woodridge, MB|
|Grain in the plains|
Woodridge is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but it is an important stop for snowmobilers and ATVers who frequent the area. There were several ATVs parked outside and from a few online searches it seems the town is an important stop along the way.
|Trails End Tavern, Woodridge|
While we were eating, another westbound freight train rolled by. I'm proud to say that I stayed in my seat and didn't run outside at the sight of the crossing bells lighting up.
Once our meal was done, we continued on toward home.
MarchandWe met the tracks again at Marchand. There's nothing but straight track here but the sight lines would be good for a train. The Marchand Hotel was prominently in view.
|Church in La Brocquerie|
I saw a west-facing signal was green, indicating an eastbound train was coming, but I knew my family's patience was wearing thin so I didn't dare hang around.
I did take a moment to photograph an impressive church in the town. This is the St. Joachim Roman Catholic Church, which was built in 1898 and dedicated in 1901. The Manitoba Historical Society has a page on it and the Parish has its own web page (in French).
We carried on up highway 210.
GirouxThe CN Sprague subdivision parallels the highway, and as we drove up the highway, I saw headlights in the distance. TRAIN!
The train and I approached each other, so I picked a spot and pulled over to catch the train. CN 2666 was leading a freight train. 2666 is an old friend - I've seen it a few times.
|CN 2666 and a grain train|
|CN 2419 at Giroux, MB|
LoretteCN 8100 came to a stop on the main line at Lorette. I guessed they were waiting for a meet but I didn't dare hang around. I stopped for a few shots of the head end and then we carried on home.
|CN 8100 at Lorette siding outside Winnipeg|
ConclusionThat was the end of our little excursion to Piney, Manitoba and our trip back along the Sprague subdivision. A lovely train station and three trains!
We'll have to go all the way to Sprague next time... and maybe visit Badger.
From here, you might want to:
- Visit the abandoned Piney train station
- A Morning With Tom (along the Sprague)
- ES44ACs on the Sprague