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!

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