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.

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