Thursday, November 02, 2006

Yesterday in Saint John

I was in Saint John yesterday afternoon (November 1), and I happened to see a few trains en route.

I heard CN 305 on the scanner performing their brake test, and getting their TOP from the RTC before heading out. They were authorized only to mile 44 (Sussex) so I assumed they had some work there or at Penobsquis.

Before they left, the Sperry Rail Services truck SRS 870 got off the tracks a little west of the Tim Hortons on Rothesay Avenue.

They rumbled by Gerry Drive at 14:38. CN 5606 (SD70I), 2638 (Dash-9), 2533 (Dash-9) and 7068 (GP9) provided the power.

The train was pretty long: 56 potash cars, 42 tank cars, 1 boxcar, 8 loaded CN ballast hoppers, 1 tank car, 2 covered hoppers, 10 gypsum cars, 12 container wells, 1 5-pack, 1 well car. The Courtenay Bay potash terminal was totally empty after this!

On my way out of Saint John later in the evening, I noticed no activity in NB Southern's Dever Road yard. There was one unit with its light on in the middle of the yard, but no traffic on the scanner. I thought that was odd, because the eastbound should have arrived and they should be making up the westbound to go out later. As I approached Welsford, the reason became clear. NBSR 9801 East was stopped at Welsford with a hot wheel.

I pulled into the parking lot of the former gas station, and walked over to the engine in the siding. I tried a few shots with no flash but they didn't turn out, so I turned the flash on and took a few. That drew the attention of the engineer, who came out to talk for a few minutes. He told me the hotbox detector at Welsford was changed out about a week ago and it seems to be more sensitive than the old one. The conductor cut out the brakes on the offending car and they were on their way at 20:00 exactly. NBSR 9801, 2319, 9802 and 2317 provided the power for about 50 cars, a mix of boxcars, empty gypsum cars, autoracks and tank cars.

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