Saturday, September 02, 2006

NB Southern in McAdam

My kids and I went to McAdam today to see what we could see. My wife thought me brave (or crazy) to take all three kids, especially the 4-month-old. Hey, I have to start him on the train brainwashing experience early. We arrived in McAdam just after 12 noon. NB Southern 9801 was on the wye with CRGX 4928 tacked on the end.

9801 was emitting a ticking noise, which I assumed was related to the SmartStart unit it is equipped with.

After taking a few snaps, we headed over to the take-out joint to get some fried goodness. The two older kids played in the playground and Jamie and I sat on the bench and listened to the scanner for any activity. Midway through lunch the scanner came alive and it appeared that someone was starting 9801 up. We finished up and headed to the yard just after 13:00.

NBSR 9801 was shunting some empty centerbeam flats around. I spoke with the brakeman, Scott, and he said the eastbound freight should be in just before 2 PM. Scott and the engineer, Trent, were both from Saint John and would be taking the freight to Saint John once the American crew delivered it to McAdam. The Americans usually deadhead back to Maine in a van and return in the morning, while the Saint John crew overnights at the bunkhouse across the pond from the station.

I set up the tripod west of the station between the station and the old telecommunications building. I thought I would shoot with the flower garden and the sprinkler in the foreground for variety. NBSR 2318 East rolled past me at 13:55. The consist was 2318 in the new paint (yay), yellow 2319 and faded green 9802 with 80 cars.

The train had 10 loads and 70 empties, 4062 tons and was 5450 feet long. While it rolled by on the north side of the station, 9801 was still doing a bit of shunting on the south side. I soon learned that 9801 would be going back to Saint John today with the freight. The three units cut off a number of cars and left them on the main line, then switched over to the south side of the station (after 9801 moved back up the wye) and began drilling the yard. They first hooked on to a couple of covered hoppers and the St. Stephen caboose 434919, then did some setouts.

Finally, they switched back to the main and 9801 rolled out again. They cut off all the cars and 9801 was moved in behind the other three units at 14:45.

They did their crew change right there, a little bit east of the station. I took the opportunity to take some detailed shots of 2318's new paint job before they headed out.

Notice how 2318 has number boards on the rear and the 980x units just have the numbers painted on. I think the boards are easier to read.

They started rolling at 14:55 and were clear of the highway crossing at 15:00 with 59 cars in tow. While they were rolling, I loaded the van with kids. That's time-consuming! Note they arrived with 80 cars and left with 59, after picking up 2 St. Stephen cars. That's a setout of 23 cars, assuming they didn't pick up others I didn't see.

I'm told NB Southern is storing a bunch of TTZX centerbeam flats at McAdam and I did see a lot of them around. The rest of the setouts must be for the St. Stephen sub.

I drove down to Harvey, easily beating them there without exceeding speed limits. I thought about shooting by the depot but I settled on a spot partway down the siding. I thought it would provide a more side-angle shot and also keep the horn noise from bothering the kids.

NBSR 2318 East blasted through at 15:30 exactly. Trent gave me a little toot on the horn as they rolled by.

Four autoracks, a solitary doublestack car, and two loaded NB Southern log cars were on the tail end. That's my son Nick watching the train go by.

I'm glad I got to see 2318's new paint job. For more pictures of 2318's new look, please visit my web site.

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