Monday, January 30, 2006

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New Brunswick Rolling Stock updated

My New Brunswick Rolling Stock pages have been updated with the new menu structure. I have a lot of photos to add to this page.. soon.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

New Brunswick Industrial Railways updated

I've updated my New Brunswick Industrial Railways section to use the new menu format.

Smurfit-Stone 01

UPM-Kymmene 711

Former CP 8033. Photo by David Othen

# 18

Potasco 1600. Photo by Bob Boudreau

NBEC menus fixed

I have to apologize - I didn't realize the menus in the New Brunswick East Coast Railway section were broken. I had updated the menu code but forgot one crucial line in the files, and the menus looked weird. I've fixed that. I only noticed it because I've been updating the New Brunswick Industrial Railways section and there are links to NBEC from there. Sorry about that!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Orford Express, train touristique

There's a new tourist train starting up in 2006, the Orford Express, train touristique. The web site is only in French at the moment, alas. The train will run between Sherbrook and Bromont, east of Montreal. They are using RDC cars. I'm tempted to make the trip, as I've never been on an RDC!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Saturday, January 21, 2006

CN and NB Southern sightings 2006/1/21

I had a busy day of railfanning today with my daughter.

I decided to head down to Saint John. We arrived near Island Yard around 12:45 and the power for 305 was nowhere in sight. I heard them on the scanner talking about brake pressure so I figured I had some time. We went to the Tim Horton's at the end of the yard at Coldbrook and had some delicious chili. Just as we were finishing, I heard the thrum-thrum of engines approaching and saw a couple of big CN engines stopping beside Tim's. One of the crew came in for their snack so I took a photo and hit the road.

CN 2666 at Tim Horton's

We went down to the intersection of Rothesay Avenue and McAllister Drive and waited for 305 there. They came by a few minutes later at 13:30 and I got them on video and took a few snaps.

CN 305 leaving Saint John

CN 305 leaving Saint John
I'm not pleased with the quality of the video.

305's consist was CN 2666 and 5696 with 101 cars (46 potash cars, 9 single-stack well cars, 24 boxcars, 20 tank cars, 2 covered hoppers).

I decided to get an "on the road" video of 305. I've never chased 305 before so I wasn't sure where the best spot was. I ended up going to Hampton and leaving the highway there. I drove around for a few minutes trying to find a good spot, and settled on a bridge at mile 64.4 just north of Hampton. The light wasn't great but I figured I had better get SOME kind of shot or I would have driven 25 km for nothing.

I heard the train blowing for crossings more than 5 minutes before it actually showed up at 14:12.

CN 305 in Hampton

CN 2666 on CN 305 in Hampton
I just cut the nose off in this shot. Drat.

CN 5696 on CN 305 in Hampton

While returning to the highway to go back to Saint John, I stopped to take some photos of the station in Hampton. It's a tourist bureau now and it appears to be in great shape.

Hampton Station

Hampton Station

I didn't realize there was any kind of switch in Hampton. It turns out there's a lead there, switch LE56 (see the Sussex sub in CN Car Control Manual October 1983). It doesn't appear to go anywhere but it was a surprise to see it.

We returned to Saint John, had a quick look at the (almost empty) NB Southern yard and saw little but HLCX 3669 and NBSR 3701 there in different parts of the yard. There were a lot of yellow Sunbury trailers on flatcars.

We took the slow road up through Grand Bay and Westfield in the hopes of seeing the eastbound from Maine. I had pretty much given up when I was approaching Welsford and heard the hotbox on the radio: "Detector McAdam Subdivision. Two naught naught axles. No alarms." Initially I thought I was hearing the Hoyt detector, since it didn't announce its mileage (or I didn't hear it), so I crossed the tracks and then saw the headlights coming. I was trapped on the wrong side of the tracks and had to wait for the train to clear. This was 16:24.

NBSR eastbound at Welsford

It was NBSR 2317, 2318 and 9803 leading 47 cars (4 centerbeam flats, 26 boxcars, 12 tank cars, 1 single-stack well, and 4 auto racks).

I got them on the S-curve just off the highway at 16:32. The lighting wasn't great all the way along, as the sun was getting very low.

NBSR eastbound at Westfield

Then Westfield Beach at 16:38. Church was just getting out so there was a lot of traffic.

NBSR eastbound at Westfield Beach

I managed to get ahead of them in downtown Grand Bay and shot my last segment by the caboose at 16:48.

NBSR eastbound at Grand Bay

With that, it was time to go home.

Friday, January 20, 2006

New video (NB Southern)

I've put a new video up on my video page.

It features NBSR 3701 and CN 7060 taking a local out to the Irving Refinery in Saint John, on a rainy Saturday in June 2003.


I'd like to point out that the quality of the videos on my video page is considerably less than what I can put on a DVD. The quality is reduced a lot to make the videos small enough for downloading.

To give you an idea, here are the sizes of a 36 second introductory segment for the upcoming VIA DVD:
- MPEG format (for web): 6.16 MB
- AVI format (for DVD): 127 MB

Web videos are about 20 times smaller than DVD videos, so the quality is less.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

CN sightings in Saint John 2006/01/17

At the Island Yard, CN 7000 and 7010 were making up the refinery/Irving Paper local at 0930. NBSR 79635 was already in position and they were collecting the last few cars. CN 2507, 2666 and 5696 were resting by the enginehouse.

Farther east/north in the yard, a crew was loading steel bars onto a car:
Loading steel

Later, at 1550 the three CN units above (2507/2666/5696) as CN 305 were collecting empty potash cars from the Courtenay Bay terminal. I took a few shots but the light wasn't great.

CN 305 Potash Terminal

The numbers on 2507 seem odd. I wonder if it was in a wreck and was repainted?
CN 2507

Monday, January 16, 2006

VIA pages updated

I found some time and updated my VIA in New Brunswick pages. I featured some of the photos of David Chiasson, a Bathurst-area resident who has taken some great pictures around the area. Please check them out! Here's a sample:

VIA 14 at Bathurst. Photo by David Chiasson

NBEC and NBSR menus updated

I updated the menus on the NB East Coast and NB Southern sections to use the new format.

Next, I will update the VIA section!

I'll be in Saint John tomorrow, so I'll probably have a few sightings to report.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

CN section updated

Thanks to the encyclopedic knowledge of several of AtlanticRails' members, I have made corrections and enhancements to my CN in New Brunswick pages. I'd especially like to thank (in no particular order) Steve Dickie, Wendell Lemon, and Mark Rushton for their time and effort in correcting my mistakes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Northern N.B. observations 2006/01/10

I had a quick look at Miramichi on my way through this morning. UPM 711 was working the yard around 0950. There were a lot of cars in the plant.

At the NBEC yard, CFQC 3000 and NBEC 1840 were running around dodging snowplow 61612. They were getting out of the way for VIA 14 to come in. This was the first time I've ever seen 3000, so I was pleased it was such a nice day for photos.

SFQC 3000 and NBEC 1840 in Miramichi

NBEC 1840

NBEC snowplow

At 1006 VIA 14 rolled in with three-eyed 6420 and 6415 leading a Renaissance train. They saw a fair bit of snow on the way from Montreal!

VIA 14 with 6420 on point

Ice on a Renaissance car truck

Around 1130 I heard NBEC 587 working at the Belledune smelter but I didn't have a chance to have a look.

Monday, January 09, 2006

CN section of web site revamped

I've made some significant changes to the CN section of my web site.

I've included a couple of pages detailing the CN trains that run through and in New Brunswick, freshened the pictures, and changed the format to the new format you see in sections like the home page and the rail documentation area.

As always, comments welcome here or at

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Video camera recommendations

A few people have asked me for recommendations for a video camera. I've talked about this before. I don't have any specific brand recommendations, but I will tell you what I think is essential, useful, unimportant and unwanted for me.

  • A good lens (Carl Zeiss is a good name)
  • Minimum 10x optical zoom
  • Easy to use on-camera controls
  • FireWire (IEEE 1394 or i.LINK) interface to computer
  • At least 90 minutes battery life
  • Night vision mode
  • A/V pass-through mode (can play a VCR through it to a computer and vice versa)
  • MiniDV tapes
  • USB interface
  • Digital camera built-in
  • Shoe on top for external light
  • S-Video port
  • Port for external microphone
  • On-camera editing
  • Digital zoom (it's misleading - the zoom comes at the expense of quality; only optical zoom is important)
  • Size of flip-out screen
  • Direct to DVD - it's convenient but the quality is less than MiniDV
  • Controls you have to press on the LCD screen to use

For the record, I have a Sony DCR-TRV25 that I bought in 2002. I guess the equivalent Sony model today would be the DCR-HC32. Of course, that's a better camera than I have, mainly due to the better optical zoom.

Have a look at this link: 10 Questions to Ask When Buying A Cam-Corder.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Rail history pages modernized

I've started updating the New Brunswick Railway History pages. It's a long process! I need a lot more content too. If anyone is willing to write a few paragraphs on any of these railways, leave me a comment or email me at Proper credit would be given, of course.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Main New Brunswick Railways web page updated

I've updated the main page of the New Brunswick Railways web site. Now the major sections are represented by icons and the menu system has been updated to hopefully better show the sections and subsections. I would appreciate your comments as a comment here or email to!