Thursday, September 08, 2005

Northern Road Trip

09:45 UPM-Kymmene - the picket lines are gone but it doesn't look like the plant is quite back to full production. There were 4 tank cars in the outside yard and one inside the facility. No sign of the switcher.

Apparently it was maintenance day on the NBEC. I saw a crew rebuilding the King George Highway crossing in Miramichi, a hirailer at Beresford and a couple of trucks in the siding at Belledune.

10:00 Miramichi yard - CFMG 6903/NBEC 1867/NBEC 1819 (SD40/RS18/RS18) coupled together in the parking spur.

11:05 Bathurst yard - There were nine AOK covered hoppers looking shiny and new near the VIA station. The build date was May 2005. I don't think I've seen many covered hoppers on the NBEC. Also in the yard were the usual bunch of CN covered gondolas, four CN chip cars and a few battered NBEC ore cars. No yard power.

11:45 Belledune - NBEC 6901 East blasted through the crossing about 30 seconds before I got there. I saw the ram of TankTrain cars for Ultramar at the end and that was it.

NBEC 587 (the ore train) was pushing a string of ore cars through the scales behind the smelter. There were two RS18s for power, one of which I think was 1854. It was hard to tell from the highway.

After my work I decided to go to Petit Rocher to try to catch NBEC 403 on its way back to Campbellton. I figured it would leave Bathurst around 1700 so I would easily have enough time. I heard it get a clearance from the RTC at 1725 from mile 96 to Campbellton. I should have remembered that mile 96 was SOUTH of Bathurst, so that meant
they hadn't even reached Bathurst at 1725. I waited, and waited, and waited. At 1810 the RTC called for an OS, and 403 said they arrived at mile 108 (Bathurst) at 1755. I waited and waited some more.

Just when I was about to give up, I heard 6901 West blow for a distant crossing. They rumbled through Petit Rocher at 1705. It was a big train.

NBEC 6901
NBEC 4214
CFQC 4203
CFMG 6907
25 boxcars
7 86' boxcars
7 loaded log racks
9 tank cars
5 loaded CN woodchip cars
6 airflow cars
3 centerbeam flats (paper loads)
23 covered CN gondolas
(85 cars)

After I taped the train, I beat it to Jacquet River a few minutes ahead of them, and set up on the iron bridge over the tracks. They rolled right underneath me and I got a good lungful of smoke from 6901 and a jolt from the horn. I swear engineers just LOVE doing that. It was a great location for overhead taping, though.

I rushed to Charlo and caught them at 1955 by the VIA shack. I probably should have picked a better location but time was short.

After that, I was quite hungry so I stopped to put some expensive gas in my car and grab a sub. Then I went to Campbellton in the falling dark, arriving a few minutes before 403 did. Right after they passed, NBEC 1857 rolled out to reline the switches back to the main. It's interesting that 1857's rear lights are almost as bright as the front ones.

They puttered around with some shunting while I checked into my hotel and did a few things. I went back out to catch VIA 15. I decided to set up just east/south of Campbellton on the straight approach before the Irving siding. They were about 15 minutes late at 2145, and YAY it was a Budd train.

VIA 6409
VIA 6420
baggage 8619
coach 8118
coach 8108
coach 8137
Skyline 8506
Chateau Rouville 8225
Chateau Iberville 8209
Diner Acadian 8401
Chateau Joliet 8260
Chateau Viger 8229
Chateau Brule
Revelstoke Park

They took their sweet time getting out of Campbellton for some reason. After all the passengers were on board, the crew fiddled around in the cab for almost ten minutes before rolling out. I didn't have my scanner with me so I'm not sure what the delay was.

Here is a video of the whole NBEC chase.

EDIT: Video added

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