Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Northern New Brunswick railfanning

I was late leaving the Fredericton area, but while I was there I bagged this shot of a runaway caboose:

While approaching Miramichi at noon, I noticed NBEC 1854 and 1866 (RS-18s) shunting the UPM mill. As usual for UPM there was no angle for a photo. I took a quick look through the NBEC yard on my way through, and saw CFMG 6903 idling away and poor old NBEC 4219 and 4243 still rusting away in the back of the yard.

I don't condone graffiti, but this one on CN 598211 amused me.

I especially like how the reflectors have been applied over the graffiti.

I heard the ore train working at Belledune as I drove past.

This being Tuesday, there was no VIA 15 tonight. I figured my best chance was to maybe catch NBEC 403 returning to Campbellton in the dark. I left work at about 19:00 and proceeded toward Campbellton. As I approached Dalhousie Junction I heard NBEC 403 on the radio counting down cars. "15 cars, 403." "15 cars" I figured I was hearing them shunt in Campbellton, so I got off highway 134 and onto highway 11. Imagine my surprise when I passed over the tracks at the Junction and saw CFMG 6910 slowly rolling toward me.

I turned around and exited at Blair Malcolm Road/Dalhousie Junction. They were blocking a crossing south of the highway. I saw the conductor kicking snow on the wheels of one of the CN covered gondolas, and looking around underneath. I guess it must have tripped the hotbox detector. I tried a few shots in the dark but this is the best I could get, with a flash:

The best I can say about that poor shot was that the reflectors definitely work.

I mucked around the Junction trying to decide where to set up, and I finally decided to go to Blair Lane a little past where the rail line crosses highway 134. I set my camera on the tripod, with my car's headlights illuminating the crossing. At 19:42 they slowly rolled past, with the conductor giving me a wave.

The consist was CFMG 6910, NBEC 4214, CFQC 4202 and NBEC 6901 leading a 97 car train. The train included 5? woodchip cars, 8 loaded log cars (mostly CFMG), the usual collection of boxcars and tank cars, four cars loaded with Chaleur Lumber, a bunch of CN covered gondolas, and the usual Ultramar 17-car ram on the tail end. One really unusual pair of cars were two beat-up CN gondolas with an odd load in them - they almost looked like dumpsters or containers, 3 to a gondola.

I caught up with the head end and got to the VIA station before they did. Here I tried a few more stills in the dark and this was the best I got, by panning with the engine movement:

For comparison, here's what happens when you don't pan and you don't use a tripod:

Clearly I have a LOT to learn about using my still camera in the dark.

It appears the NBEC crew just cut the power off and left the entire train there, as it was still in one piece at 22:50 with the FRED still forlornly blinking at the end of the train.

With any luck, I might actually see something in daylight tomorrow.

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