Sunday, February 26, 2006

Train Blogs I Read

Friday, February 24, 2006

Green switcher day

I went down to Saint John on the 23rd and had a bit of luck.

As I crossed the Harbour Bridge I noticed a string of container cars near Harbour Station. I took the next exit, and found twenty-some flats, most loaded, with no engine in sight.

I figured something must be coming along to get them soon, so I backtracked to near Reversing Falls. Just as I saw the Reversing Falls bridge, I heard some chatter on the scanner. The NBSR yard planner was telling someone to line the west end switch for the "Tropical boys" to come through.

Since many of the containers were Tropical containers, I figured they were on their way to get the cars. I heard a train horn, so I beat it back to the Bentley Street crossing (Google Maps) to wait.
Switchers at Mill Street
In about six minutes or so, three NB Southern engines came along - SW1200 3703 and 3702 bracketing GP9 3701. They trundled past the Mill Street sign and went down to couple up to the platforms.

Getting ready to take the hill
At 09:43 they started the pull up the hill to the Dever Road yard. I guess they must have had some trouble pulling them up the hill, as they slowed to a slow walking pace. I didn't stick around to see them get all the way up. I wonder if the morning transfer freight had to double the hill, and that's why the containers were left there. There were 23 platforms.
NB Southern high hood GP9
At noon I saw CN 7010 shunting the Island Yard, with CN 5746 and 5707 sitting idle in the yard.

At 16:30 it looked like another refinery local was being put together or taken apart. CN 7015 and 7000 together with NBSR 79635 were shunting tank cars in Island Yard. CN 5746 and 5707 were still sitting around in the yard.

On my way out of Saint John, I heard NBSR 2319 call the RTC and ask where the eastbound freight was. The RTC said it left McAdam at 16:35. If I had another 45 minutes or so I might have caught it at Welsford but time was not on my side, so I didn't see it at all.

Petitbone MOW equipment NBSR 151014 was sitting at Westfield Beach, off the rails, when I went by.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

NBEC 1816 in Quebec again

As I mentioned back on February 3, NBEC 1816 was in Quebec. Apparently it left the CFC a day after it arrived, but came back on February 9 and has remained there since.

Jean Francois Dumont took some photos of 1816 on the 10th and posted them to

This one is my favourite.
A close runner-up.
A great distance shot.
This doesn't really show 1816 but it does show one of CFC's locos quite well.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Class 1 photography versus shortlines

Aaron Hockley wonders why he tries to shoot mainline action when the shortlines are more interesting. My guess is because you see more action on the class 1's tracks. I shoot a lot more shortline action than class 1 action, partly because I'm around the shortlines more often. Also, on my web site I see far more clicks for NB Southern or New Brunswick East Coast than for CN or VIA. I even moved the CN icon to second place to see if it would make any difference, and it didn't. I guess people can see the class 1's anywhere; information on the shortlines is hard to find elsewhere.

NBSR 2319, Welsford, 2004/05/30

Saturday, February 18, 2006

VIA and NBEC 2006/02/17

Yesterday was an awful day for travelling, but not so bad for trainspotting.

When I arrived in Miramichi around 09:50, NBEC 6905 was the only power in the New Brunswick East Coast (NBEC) yard. I checked with one of the VIA agents and they told me VIA 14 (the Ocean) was more or less on time. I drove around a bit and found a half-decent spot. I kept moving to try to get a shot without an overhead wire in the shot, and ended up with this wedgie:
VIA 14 arriving at Miramichi

VIA 14 arrived at 10:08 with 6419 and 6412 leading a Budd car consist. Here are some but not all of the cars: 8622 (baggage), 8141 (coach), 8140 (coach), 8512 (Skyline), 8413 (Diner Louise), 8206 (Chateau Denonville), 8225 (Chateau Rouville), and 8706 (Glacier Park).

They saw quite a bit of snow and ice on the way from Montreal:
VIA 6419 at Miramichi

The train left at 10:15.
Glacier Park departing Miramichi

I saw a ram of tank cars at the Ultramar facility and two NBEC RS18s at the Chatham Mall on my way through. They would prove to be 1840 and 1856 as we shall see.

As I passed Bathurst in the freezing rain at 11:10, I heard the yard switcher train 597 getting a clearance. They had NBEC 1819 for power.

When I arrived at Belledune at 11:55, I saw there was a cut of cars left on the siding off the mainline, and I heard train 587 (Brunswick Mines to Belledune) chatting away on the scanner. I caught a glimpse of NBEC 1868 and CFQC 3000 pushing a cut of cars into the Brunswick Smelting facility. They had some blue NBEC ore cars and a bunch of boxcars. No pictures - there was no good angle at all.

En route past Bathurst on my way out, I heard the Bathurst yard switcher talking to the RTC, who said NBEC 403 would be leaving Miramichi at around 1600. That's a pretty normal time for them. It gives them enough time to keep ahead of VIA 15.

On my way back through Miramichi, I found RS18s 1840 and 1856 working the yard as train 587 at 17:55. The light was almost gone and the photos suffer for it. There's only so far you can tweak an almost-black photo!
NBEC 1840 at Miramichi

NBEC 1856 at Miramichi

There was nothing at McGivney but red lights in the snow...

PS: This is post #100!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Camera comparison

When I was in McAdam a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to do some camera comparisons. I had three cameras with me:
  • Sony DCR-TRV25 digital video camera (1 megapixel)
  • Fuji A210 digital camera (3.2 megapixels)
  • Kodak C340 digital camera (5 megapixels)
I stood at the same spot and took three photos of the same subject (NB Southern GP38-3 9801). Then I resized them all to 600 pixels high, without doing any other massaging. Here they are.

Sony DCR-TRV25 1 megapixel
Fuji A210 3.2 megapixels
Kodak C340 5 megapixels

What do you think?

It's obvious the first one is the 1 megapixel camera. It looks so much worse than the rest. 1 megapixel is barely good enough for web photos. I don't see a lot of difference between the second and third photos - do you?

Of course, I've removed much of the differences between the 3.2 and the 5 megapixel cameras by resizing the photos for display here. When looking at the original files, I can zoom in a lot more on the 5 megapixel camera before seeing blockiness.

I like the C340, and I plan to write a little review on it, but I'm holding out for something like this. One can dream, right?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Videos on Google

Google has a wonderful service called Google Video where you can view all kinds of videos.

I've been sending some of my videos there. Once I remove a video from my video page, I send it to Google and they put it up. This is a list of my videos on Google. I'll try to keep that page updated.

So far they have two of my videos online and two are in the process of being reviewed.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

CN and NB Southern in Saint John, 2006/02/09

It was a bright, sunny day in Saint John today. I arrived by Island Yard at 08:55 to find CN GP9s 7000 and 7010 resting in the yard, GP9 CN 7015 shunting and no big CN power to be seen. That's unusual - by 9 AM one expects to see two or three SD75s or Dash-9s around from CN 306.

I drove down the length of the yard without seeing any power, but I did see a blue transformer load behind a string of tank cars. I went to cross the tracks at a private crossing past the west yard throat, and when I looked left and right before crossing, I saw a big CN engine approaching from the west! There was the late CN 306 at 08:57. I barely had time to put the car in park and jump out to take video.

CN 2641

The train was led by CN 2641 and 2605, with three centerbeam flats loaded with lumber, 47 (!) container platforms, 1 boxcar, 4 tank cars, 4 boxcars, 7 tank cars, 1 covered hopper, 15 tank cars and perhaps another 12 cars, for a total of about 91 cars.

The engines stopped short of the island portion of the yard, and the CN power was cut off. Then the oddball combination of NBSR 3702, 3701, 3703 and 2317 rolled forward to take over. 3702 was smoking quite a bit! Sorry - no pictures - they were mostly obscured by cars.

I went out at about 11 to get a new hard drive at Beats & Bytes, and when I stepped outside at 11:15 I heard a train blowing for a nearby crossing. I ran over to find the west Saint John local coming toward me: 5 boxcars, 8 tank cars, CN 7000 and 7010, and 2 more boxcars (15 cars). The brakeman riding on the lead boxcar looked pretty cold but he gave me a wave anyway.

Transfer FreightCN 7000

Later, I was passing Ocean Steel and about to cross the Reversing Falls when I saw cars stopping at the crossing. The transfer freight from Island Yard was going to the Dever Road yard! I pulled over by the Simms factory and took a couple of snaps as the train slowly crawled over the bridge. I'd guess there's a 10MPH speed limit on the bridge.

NBSR 9803

With the help of a lucky light, I got down to the Greenhead Road overpass before the train did, at 13:20. I had to sprint and unfortunately on the video you can see a bit of my breath clouding the video. :(

The transfer freight was headed by NBSR 9803 and 2317 and had 1 tank car, 1 boxcar, 5 empty NBSR lumber cars, 9 boxcars and 3 more tank cars (20 cars).

I took a couple of shots of the yard and then got in the car to head for my next destination.

Dever Road Yard

Within a minute I heard the NB Southern RTC call for NBSR 2319 East. Apparently someone was doing work on a switch frog and the RTC told 2319 to "take your time" to make sure the work was done before they arrived at Dever Road. 2319 told them they were at Westfield Beach at 13:30.

On my way out of Saint John later, I heard NBSR 9803 shunting in the yard over the scanner at about 1530. That was all I saw for the day, but it certainly was enough!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

NB Southern sighting in McAdam, 2006/02/04

My daughter and I drove down to McAdam today to see if we could see any trains. We got away a bit late, and I arrived at the town limits just after noon. As soon as I turned the scanner on, I heard someone talking. I arrived at the yard to find four engines backing up to couple up to their train. The new crew arrived and they boarded the train after a bit of conversation with the outgoing crew.
NB Southern 2317 at the McAdam station

NBSR 2317 East started rolling at 12:18. I got a friendly wave from the engineer as they rolled by.
NB Southern 2317 in McAdam, NB
The train was 2317, 9803, 2319 and 2318 leading 22 cars (in order: 3 covered hoppers, 4 empty centerbeam flats, 2 boxcars, 1 well car (doublestacked), 1 CP flatcar (one container), 6 empty autoracks, 5 tank cars). It seemed odd to have four units for such a small train. Maybe they took a large train out last night.

After talking with one of the NB Southern yard crew for a while, Lauren and I went for lunch at the Family Cafe and then played in the playground. We returned to the yard to shoot NBSR 9801, standing by itself in the yard. It's obviously the St. Stephen job power these days. NBSR 434919 was in the middle of one of the yard tracks.

NBSR 9801

We wandered around and took a few more shots after that, then went home.

McAdam Station

Old boxcar


As you can see, it was a gorgeous day for taking photos.

See Also

Friday, February 03, 2006

NBEC 1816 in Quebec

NBEC 1816 has gone to the CFC (Chemin de fer de Charlevoix) in Quebec to help them out for a while.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

NBEC sightings, 2004/01/28

That's right, January 28 2004. I thought I'd write about a few old sightings for a change.

I passed through Miramichi at about noon on the 28th and saw NBEC 403 pulling up to the crew shack. The power was CFMG 6902, NBEC 4214, NBEC 4210, and CFMG 6909. The rumbling as the engines passed me was quite impressive, as you can hear in this video.

NBEC 1821 and 1814 were idling in the yard as train 578. CFMG 6903 was idling away.

NBEC 1821 and 1814

When I passed through again around 15:00 train 403 was gone, and CFMG 6903 was making up its train to take to Moncton.

CFMG 6903