Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saturday's NB Southern passenger train and a bonus

Saturday turned out to be a bright, sunny day - perfect for chasing NB Southern's passenger train. I set out from Fredericton at 12:20 with my son and daughter to spend a few hours following the Rally of Hope charter from Dever Road in Saint John to Welsford. My plan was to chase them all the way to Welsford, then chase them part of the way back and get back to Fredericton by 17:00. Of course, plans change...

We arrived at Dever Road by about 13:40. The first thing I noticed was that the consist was different than previous years. They had two engines (9803 - I was wrong about the number but not the colour) and 2318), the usual three passenger cars, but no caboose.

I spoke with the engineer, Bob, and he said they had 9803 on to try to find a ground fault that has been troubling it. I asked him when the eastbound freight would be coming in, and he figured it would follow the passenger train in to Saint John. He promised to ask the RTC as they approached Welsford if he remembered. Bob's a good fellow - I met him at McAdam a while ago.

Here's Gary the conductor helping the last few passengers on.

I decided to get my first video at the wye just west of the yard. I'd never shot there before so I figured, "why not?" I waited for the 2 PM departure and.. no train. Shortly thereafter I heard quite a conversation between the engineer and Don the RTC about some late passenger. The RTC called and found the passenger, who finally boarded. Long story short, the train passed me at 14:29.

I gave chase. There was a fair bit of traffic and I wasn't able to get ahead of him until the overpass over the tracks just south of Grand Bay at 14:38.

I then grabbed a quick shot at Grand Bay on the straightaway by the rink at 14:42:

Next was the Westfield Beach overpass at 14:50:

I encountered Wendell Lemon along the way and I almost got into one of his shots (sorry Wendell). We exchanged a few words before I took off again. I got two more shots along the highway (14:53 and 14:56) before getting him at the LaFarge quarry crossing at 15:03:

As we approached Welsford the engineer of the passenger train asked the RTC where the freight was. I heard another engineer speak and say he was stopped at mile 25. That's just about a mile north of Welsford so he was stopped to wait for the passenger extra. There was quite a bit of discussion about what to do. The passenger was "work 9803" and therefore they had two options: cancel the work permit and get a new order once the freight went through, or retain the work permit and allow the freight to pass through. They elected to retain the work permit. The passenger train took the siding.

As I passed Wendell at the highway 7 crossing I gave him the news, then I went up to Welsford Station Road to wait for the freight to come through. NBSR 2317 East came rolling through at 15:16. Note the superelevation on the curve here.

The freight was NBSR 2317, 2319 and 9802 with 29 cars (3 tank cars, 21 boxcars, 3 empty centerbeam flats, and two TOFC (1 Sunbury, 1 white)).

I gave chase to the freight, figuring I would pick up the passenger train once it was done its runaround. Surprisingly, I beat it to the highway 7 crossing at 15:22 - it had to run slowly by the passenger train.
NBSR 2317 and 2319 leaving Welsford, NB
I stopped at the LaFarge quarry crossing (still in Welsford) to catch him again at 15:28.

Then he really started motoring. I could tell he was running at track speed (40 MPH) because I was barely catching up to him. Once he got to Westfield Beach he had to slow to 30 MPH so I managed to get ahead of him and catch him just before Grand Bay:

I gave up the chase here and went back to Welsford. I decided to stop at the intersection with highway 102 to wait for him. I heard the chirp of the SBU and tried a few still shots that didn't work out well. I gave chase and shot him along the highway near Westfield Beach at 16:04.

I saw Wendell had decided to shoot him from the overpass, which was a smart move as the train would fit in the shot there.

The kids and I decided to get one more shot, at Hardings Point at 16:08.

As I panned, someone unexpected got in the shot.

She said, "I was totally in your shot, wasn't I?" I agreed but said it was OK. I had lots of shots already, and besides, she was cute.

So ended a fabulous afternoon of chasing trains.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like it was a good chase. I do like the paint scheme on that lead unit. And yes, being cute is a valid excuse for getting in one's shot :)