Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Missed by that much

Did you ever have a day or a train chase where you felt like you were just a few seconds behind everyone else? That was yesterday for me. I guess that makes up for my lucky catch of a CN local yesterday.

January 30 started with a quick visit to the NBEC yard in Bathurst. NBEC 1818 was the yard power, and the crew was walking to their unit at about 07:50 in the bitter cold.

I wasn't really trying to catch VIA 14 but I hoped I would get them at Belledune when they stopped to reline the Irvco switch. I heard them on the scanner but I only saw the tail end of the train in the distance. Miss #1.

Ore train 587 was in Belledune but I didn't see it. I assume NBEC 1813 and SFEX 3000 were still the power for that train.

On my way back south, I heard someone calling the RTC as I drove over the tracks on highway 11 but I didn't hear who it was.

As I approached Miramichi I heard train 403 getting its TOP from the RTC at 14:54. Given that I was just by Wal-Mart at that point, I didn't think I would be able to get trackside before they left. I was right. (the TOP was for 6905 West with 8 loads (didn't hear the # of empties), 2693 tons and 2584 feet).

Just as I saw the tracks by the Northumberland Dairy facility, 403 was blowing for the crossings. I saw two SD40 and two C424 units in the distance as they headed north. I estimate they had about 30 cars, 17 of those being the empty Ultramar tank cars on the tail end. Miss #2.

CFMG 6910 was at rest in the yard, waiting to become train 402 later in the day. NBEC 1866 and NBEC 1856 were the power on local 578, which was idling in front of the crew shack. I contented myself with some roster shots in the bright sunlight before heading south.

I like the moon over the unit.

As I approached McGivney I saw the east-facing signals were green over red, but I didn't have time to sit and wait for a train to show. Experience has told me it could be half an hour at least before something shows. Miss #3.

On the way south I stopped and took a few photos of the old railway bridge at Renous. I've been meaning to do this for some time.

Not a great day for watching trains, but what can you do?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Northern New Brunswick Railfanning

First... being in the right place at the right time.

I was heading north from Fredericton to Bathurst this afternoon. As I approached McGivney I heard a chirp on the scanner - someone calling the RTC. I didn't hear anything else but I decided to take five minutes and go to the depot to see what the signals said. As I approached the crossing, I looked right, then left.. TRAIN! I had just enough time to put the car in park, turn the video camera on and get out before the eastbound freight passed the depot.

14:00 CN ??? - CN 4730/6025 with empty centerbeam flats and loaded log cars - about 15 cars in total.

Good timing!

It was the usual crowd in Miramichi later that afternoon, with NBEC 402 (CFMG 6910) and NBEC 403 (6903/6902/6900) both milling about. 403's power was wyed to have 6903 lead on the way back to Campbellton.

Here are trains 402 and 403, both by the crew shack in Miramichi.

Train 402 got its TOP at 16:03 and left at 16:13 with 10 cars.

NBEC train 403 got its TOP right after 403, and left Miramichi at 16:24. I held the video camera in my right hand and shot blind with the digital camera in my left hand. I'm quite pleased with my aim!

Notice the sundog above the train.

I left Miramichi and headed to Bathurst. I heard train 597 shunting in Bathurst. Train 403 called ahead and asked when it could enter the yard. They were told to hold at mile 88 (yard limit) for a few minutes. Here they are approaching highway 11 at 17:31.

This was another left-hand shot as I taped the train. I had to level the horizon on this one.

They rolled right past train 597 and stopped by the station for a few minutes.

Train 403 rolled out at 18:04.

I went to check into my hotel, and came back at 19:30ish to wait for VIA 15. I checked with the station staff and they told me it wouldn't be in until 21:00-21:15 (1 hour late). When I returned at 20:45 the story was the same. I heard them get a TOP for the Bathurst-Campellton stretch at about 20:05. Shortly thereafter NBEC 403 reported it lined the Irvco switch for the main line. VIA 15 arrived at about 21:20 with 6414 (Loto Quebec) and 6453 leading a Renaissance train. I shot them arriving and leaving, then called it a night.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Grumpy's World

I stumbled across a very entertaining railway blog, Grumpy's World. The author, a curmudgeon who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, has some very acerbic comments on motive power, railfans, and pretty much everything else. It's entertaining to read and his photos are excellent.

In that vein, he has a railroad photography guide online that is a must-read. Although the articles are a bit dated, the tips and techniques are relevant even in today's digital world.

Photo of new NB Southern units

Bruce Tiemann got this shot of de-lettered CIC 110 and 112 at the Rockford Road shops in Cedar Rapids yesterday. These are the two "new" NB Southern units coming soon.

Thanks for the photo, Bruce!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

NB Southern new units

Bruce Tiemann reports that "As of today, Ex-CIC GP35M #110 & GP35M #112 are now tied down on the same track as CIC display GP9 #100 on the Southeast side of the
Rockford Road shop complex, clearly visible from the street overpass. Both were dusted with snow and have had their stacks capped."

CN number boards update

I've updated the list of CN number boards for sale by Ron Leblanc. He has had a lot of interest so far.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sunday, January 14, 2007

NB Southern new units

I'm back from Mexico. No trains sighted (except the Pearson shuttle) but a great time was had by all. Back to rail news..

Crandic units GP35M 110 and 112 were spotted outside the Rockford Road shops January 3 with their heralds removed and road numbers painted out. They are waiting for the money transfer to be completed, then they will be on their way to New Brunswick. They should arrive in Saint John on CN 306 and will go straight into the shop at Island Yard for repainting before they are put into service. No word yet on what NBSR numbers they will receive. I vote for 9804 and 9805, not that my opinion matters!