Wednesday, May 30, 2007

NBEC 1868 on the move

Phil Ross reported that NBEC 1868 left Campbellton Tuesday morning (presumably on NBEC 402) to go to Sydney, Nova Scotia "for main generator repairs". I assume it made it to Moncton Tuesday night. It may have left for Truro on CN 308 this morning, or it may stay a day in Moncton before heading out.

By my records, 1868 has had two main generator changeouts, one in late 1999 and one in late 2002. What is it about this unit? :)

Northern New Brunswick railfanning, May 28

I was on the road Monday May 28 and I saw a few trains on the way.

As I passed through Miramichi I saw NBEC 1813 and 1818 working the yard, while CFMG 6907 rested on the back track.

VIA 14 was very late due to some mechanical problem in Montreal, and it was not scheduled to be in Miramichi until after 1 PM.

Carrying on to Bathurst, I saw NBEC 1845 bringing a short train 597 of wood chips off the Nepisiguit Subdivision into the Bathurst yard. I'll post a video later.

Shortly after leaving Bathurst, I heard a train "6901 East" reporting its position as "mile 119", which is very near Beresford. I took the highway exit but saw train 402 going under the overpass.

A very interesting set of cars were in the freshly-ballasted siding at Beresford. Two gondolas and a bulkhead flat car held an assortment of... well, I don't know what it was. It looked like scrap metal to me but I don't think it was.

I heard NBEC ore train 587 honking at a crossing in Belledune but I did not see it.

On my way south, I looked in Bathurst and saw NBEC 1845 on the back track and NBEC 1821 and another RS-18 ready to go on the siding, with a long train of ore cars, concentrate cars, and other stuff. This shot was taken from Golf Road.

I was wondering why they were just sitting there, until I saw a headlight way in the distance. NBEC 403 was coming to town. I went to Squire Green Road and shot them arriving with NBEC 6901, NBEC 6904, and CFMG 6903 leading a short train of mostly boxcars. I totally messed up my video by fiddling with the exposure just before the train arrived at 16:20. I did get some snaps from the Canon, however.

In Miramichi, NBEC 1813 and 1818 were at rest by the yard office and 6907 was gone.

I noticed a pretty blue car in the Miramichi yard, which turned out to be CFMG 615119, a log car.

That was it for trains!

Monday, May 28, 2007

NB Southern Railway Passenger Excursion May 27

As I mentioned I chased the excursion yesterday (May 27). I left Fredericton at about 10:30, hoping to catch the train at Welsford and then follow it back to Saint John. I arrived in Welsford and the train was not there, but when I went to the south end of the siding, Dave Dineen was waiting there for the train to arrive. Perfect!

The train arrived at 11:22. They cut NBSR 9801 off the head end, ran up to the north end of the siding, then craaaawled down the siding to the south end before coupling up to the caboose. They finally left at 11:52. I think they had some kind of brake problem to resolve after they coupled up.

Dave and I gave merry chase. We ended up at different spots most of the time, which was good for variety. I elected to go to my favourite spot, the LaFarge road on the south end of Welsford. Here they are at 11:59.

I was trying to emphasize quality over quantity on this trip, so I passed on any more side-of-the-road shots and drove on to Westfield Beach to get the next shot at the overpass at 12:11. I shot this left-handed as I was taping at the same time.. the quality suffered.

The next shot was at another favourite spot, the bend going into Grand Bay at 12:18. Dave Dineen also shot here.

I taped them at Station Road going under the overpass.

I didn't catch up to them again until 12:35, where I shot them going across this bridge just before the yard in Saint John. It is backlit but I think it turned out OK.
Crossing the bridge
They had decided to run the engine around the train, using the wye, and then push the consist back to Harbour Station. That would have it all set up for the next trip at 2 PM. Here they are on the wye at 12:42.
Turning on the wye
At this point the kids and I needed lunch, so we went to our favourite Scottish restaurant. We rejoined the train at Harbour Station near 2 PM. Dave Dineen and Jim Robertson were there, so we had a brief chat before I left to set up by the Reversing Falls bridge.

They crossed the bridge at 14:16.

I tried to beat them to the yard entrance but they were too fast for me, arriving at 14:21. I went to the other end of the yard and saw NBSR 2318, 2612 and 9802 waiting there, presumably making up the evening westbound train. The excursion train went by at 14:26.

I went to the next crossing after the bridge north of the yard, just for something different. I like it! Here's the train at 14:32.

I tried for Station Road at 14:41 but they were too fast for me. They definitely seemed to be moving faster this trip. Dave Dineen and I both shot at Westfield Beach, but I think his are the better shots. I did get this side-of-the-road shot at 14:57 I'm pleased with.

I shot them again at the LaFarge road at 15:06.

My son was waving at the train and quite a few people waved back.

I taped them arriving at Welsford siding and that was it for me. We hit the road and headed for home, after a successful day of train chasing.

Here's a video I put together showing the train at a few locations.

Thanks for reading this far!

See Also

Sunday, May 27, 2007

NBSR Passenger Train teaser

The chase went well, but I don't have time to post about it right now. Just as a teaser...

Dave Dineen has posted some photos!

Friday, May 25, 2007

NB Southern Excursion Train Reminder

Just a reminder that NB Southern starts running its Rally of Hope train rides this weekend:

May 26 (Saturday): 10 AM
May 27 (Sunday): 10 AM, 2 PM

And then:
June 9 (Saturday): 10 AM, 2 PM
June 10 (Sunday): 1 PM

All trips depart from Harbour Station in Saint John and go to Welsford and back, and will take about 2.5 hours.

I plan on chasing the trains on Sunday. I will probably pick the morning one up in Welsford and follow it back to Saint John, then have some lunch and maybe see CN 305. I'll chase the afternoon one from Harbour Station to Welsford and then head back to Fredericton.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New video of my St. Stephen Subdivision Chase

I've put another video of Monday's St. Stephen adventure online. This features two scenes: NBSR 9801 and company going past a covered bridge, and the train going over a steel bridge.


Web site statistics

As a web site owner, I have access to more data and statistics than I can ever hope to digest. Most of them have no bearing, anyway, as I'm not doing this for profit but for a hobby and to provide information. I will share a few statistics with you, just for (my?) fun.

In the past month, has had 3,304 visitors who viewed an average of 5.25 pages. On average they spend about two and a half minutes on my site. 45% of those visitors were new visitors.

How do visitors get to my site? 52% type the address in or have it bookmarked. 20% come from Google searches, 6% from Yahoo! searches, 4% from MSN/Live searches, 2% from Google Image searches, and the rest from a variety of other places.

Feedburner tells me I have 11 subscribers to my RSS feed, on average.

What does all of this tell me? A lot of people come to visit often, have a quick look, and leave. This is not surprising to me, as I expect a lot of those visitors are people who come to look at this blog, see the new stuff, and go somewhere else on the Internet.

All I can say is: I'm glad you're reading. Welcome. And feel free to comment on anything you've read or would like to see.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dave Dineen chases the Eastbound

While I was chasing the St. Stephen local Monday, Dave Dineen was chasing the eastbound mainline freight. He reports that it arrived in Tracy at 17:35 and proceeded east through Fredericton Junction, Blissville, and so forth until it tripped the hotbox at Welsford. They stopped the train to fix the problem, and finally got into Saint John at 19:25. Photos are in Dave's Yahoo album.

The train had all green power: 9802, 2612, 2319, 2318. It's funny that not long ago those engines were been NBSR green, UP yellow, Sunbury yellow, Devco green. I guess we should get used to green engines.

The following location is just south of the Brittian Road (here. I like this spot too because of the S curve.

Railfanning the St. Stephen Subdivision

I have an episode of Come Railfan With Me dedicated to this trip - check it out!

This weekend I had the "railfan itch" and decided to try something new - the St. Stephen subdivision. I hadn't railfanned that before, and the train generally only runs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so weekend trips don't work. Monday was a holiday (Victoria Day), and a quick call verified that the local would indeed be running.

I left Fredericton at just before 8 AM. I understood that the local was called for 8 AM, so chances were that I would not see it at McAdam. I decided to try anyway, and sure enough it was not there. Of the various cars there, a few stood out - a half dozen loaded gypsum cars, and empty MMA bulkhead flats clearly used in the recent dimensional loads for Nackawic. I continued south and cut across on highway 630 to the vicinity of Watt. I took highways 750 and 755 south toward St. Stephen, hoping to catch the local "on the road". I didn't see it, but I did get some ideas on where to shoot on the way back. I did see a single-ended siding at Moore's Mills, with an ancient NBSR boxcar at the end. CP's 1972/04/18 timetable showed it as a 12 car siding.

As I approached St. Stephen, I heard "Extra 9801" getting a clearance to Milltown Junction from the RTC. That told me they were arriving at St. Stephen, so I wasn't too far behind. I soon heard the chirp of the EOT (End of Train device) as I crested Old Ridge and saw the town below me. I opted to follow the tracks through town, rather than go downtown. I found the train at the Flakeboard plant on the west side of town at 09:48. It looked like they were dropping a tank car or two off.

I set up at the south end of the plant to wait for them to come through. At 10:09 they rolled through with van NBSR 434919 leading, the brakeman watching attentively for traffic and sounding the caboose's melodic horn. Battered 9801 was pushing on the tail end. They had 9 cars plus the van at that time.
Caboose leading
I zipped down to highway 170 to catch them at the next crossing. They stopped the train there at 10:16, detached the caboose, and the rest of the consist ran southeast out of my view, possibly to pick up a few cars. After a little shunting they had the van on the north end and the engine on the south end, and pushed back up toward the Flakeboard plant around 10:35.

NB Southern 9801 in St. Stephen
There is an intermodal warehouse that is not shown on the Live aerial photo I linked to earlier. Here they took the four boxcars that were there, and replaced them with one (empty) bulkhead flat car and two extra-height boxcars, all MM&A. I spoke with the brakeman here and he said they would be switching the Flakeboard plant for about half an hour before leaving town.

My son and I went and grabbed a hot dog, and watched the switching while we ate. They entered the Flakeboard plant at 11:02 and it was about 11:25 when they started heading for home. I shot them at the highway 725 crossing first.
Shoving platform at work
We then headed in to get them at the highway 740 crossing and then the Queen Street crossing. I shot them across the ball field behind the Legion but they beat me to the King Street crossing.
Crossing the field
I did shoot them behind the arena there and was amazed how bad the track was there (11:42). It must be a rough ride.
Bumpety bump
They stopped behind Ganong's to call the RTC for clearance to come home. To my surprise I saw they had swapped the engine and van again so 9801 was leading on the way home.

I went up highway 3 as they rolled along under the new highway 1 overpass. I decided to catch them here and get the one-lane covered bridge in the background. Fortunately the traffic stopped out of the video frame so I could get a good picture at 12:05.
Train, covered bridge, what could be better?

I carried on up highway 750 and found this fabulous spot just south of Moore's Mills. I just had time to put the video camera on the tripod and turn it on before the train rolled across the bridge at 12:12.
Crossing the bridge
My next shot was at 12:19 where route 750 crossed the tracks.
Big Green
The next crossing had a very long sight line so I could see them from a few kilometers away. They passed me at 12:23.
Looooong shot
I got them at Honeydale at 12:32, easily beating them there.

I decided to catch them one more time, at Watt. I turned down the road to the siding and had to inch past a very friendly dog. Still, I was there in time to record the freight rocking and rolling through at 12:44.
NB Southern 9801 through Watt

From there, I backtracked a bit to highway 630 and took that back to highway 4, then north to McAdam. I was there by about 13:10 but the freight didn't show until 13:26.
NB Southern 9801 arriving back in McAdam
For the rivet-counters, the final train was: NBSR 9801, hopper UNPX 120398, Procor tank car PROX 40748, extra-height box NOKL 571101, boxcar SLC 40621, extra-height boxes MMA 23520, AOK 112217, MMA 9244, NOKL 570184, MMA 9242, and van 434919 on the end. That's 9 cars plus the caboose.

They dropped the van near the station, then shoved their consist into the north part of the yard before stopping by the crew shack. I spoke with the friendly brakeman and he said they were going to switch the Westroc gypsum plant next. I decided to hit the road, given that it was getting late and the eastbound wasn't due for over an hour. As I left they ran light to Westroc to get the empty cars.
NBSR 9801 running light
I'm quite pleased with how the trip worked out, and the weather was pretty good. It didn't actually rain until the freight arrived in McAdam, and I did have a few patches of sun.

See Also

New NBSR YouTube videos

A few more videos from Kevin Gaudet. Here is Kevin's first NB Southern video, showing the transfer freight led by NBSR 9803 and CN 7079 leaving Island Yard for the Dever Road yard. He shot it from the pedestrian walkway over the tracks at the end of Island Yard - a nice location.

Kevin also taped CN 7000 and NBSR 2610 shunting the west end of the same yard. The videos are a bit long for my taste but you may like them.

Kevin also has a quickie of a CN GP38 at Gort outside Gordon Yard in Moncton.

NB Southern St. Stephen subdivision video online

I chased the St. Stephen local on Monday May 21. I'll have a full report later, but for now here is a video of the train rocking and rolling through Watt on its way back to McAdam. (video)

Motorcar Photos

Dan Dineen has graciously shared some motorcar photos - check them out!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Norfolk Southern video online

I put a video of NS 7506 and 9763 online. This shows those two pulling a mixed freight under the CSX line in Lagrange, IL.

Speeders on the MM&A

Not really about New Brunswick, but I saw the following on the MM&A mailing list:

A speeder trip is planned for the MM&A on Sunday, May 27 and Monday,
May 28. About 40 speeders are registered for the trip. Sunday's run
starts at 8:00 AM and the route is from Houlton to Millinocket and then
up to Squa Pan and Presque Isle. On Monday the speeders will depart PI
at 7:30 AM and cover the branches out of PI and then return to Houlton
via Oakfield.

Friday, May 18, 2007

More Videos on YouTube

I've put a few more videos on YouTube.

CN 306 at McGivney:

CN gypsum train 701 in 2002:

Le Grande Allure

Intrepid train traveller Peter Dawes has added a new volume of his travelogues to his web site. In his own words:

I've just added the first OVERSEAS volume to my website.

La Grande Allure, 1970's describes train travels during 1976, 1978 and 1979 holidays in Europe. Trains range from Night Caledonian, to Flying Scotman, Night Ferry, TEE Rheingold, Festiniog steam train, Glacier Express, Orient Express, and Wiener-Walzer.

The format is pretty much the same as for the North American volumes, although (with some exceptions) I provide train composition rather than unit numbers or names. There are 42 photographs in this first volume, as well as many other images.

Many thanks to those listed in the "Acknowledgements" for their assistance and encouragement. I hope to post the second volume in June.

I've also added slightly revised versions the first two NORTH AMERICAN volumes (No Matter Where It's Going: 1950's and 1960's), correcting a number of errors and omissions either discovered later or pointed out by readers. Furthermore, I've added a "Links" page to the Website.

The link remains

I've read some of the North American ones and I found them very interesting. Check it out!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

NBEC 1819

NBEC 1819 is on the way home. It went to the former Sydney Coal Railway shops in Cape Breton for a main generator changeout back in April.

2007/03/07 Left Ottawa for NBEC
2007/04/26 Arrived in Moncton behind NBEC 6901 on NBEC train 402.
2007/04/28 Arrived in Stellarton behind LLPX 2269 and HATX 910 on CB&CNS train 305.
2007/05/17 Passed through North Sydney.

Expect to see it in Truro, then Moncton and eventually back to home ground on the New Brunswick East Coast Railway.

Chicago sightings, part 2

In my last post, I described my first two days in Chicago. Here I will describe my last two days.

After all the excitement from May 8, I had a quiet day on the 9th. Again I got up early to go to the Prairie View Metra Station to shoot a few trains. I went a little later and caught three Metra trains, again all with cab cars leading.

07:02 Southbound Metra: METX 115, METX 419 (6 cars)
07:11 Southbound Metra: METX 122 (5 cars)
07:21 Southbound Metra: METX 118 (4 cars)

In the evening of the 9th, the group of us from our conference went for a boat ride on Lake Michigan.

My flight left O'Hare at 15:45 on the 10th. I left a lot of time for the drive to the airport, as I had no idea what the traffic would be like. As it turned out, I made very good time and I had some extra time before I had to get to the airport. I decided to go to CP's Bensenville Yard, seen from the highway last time, and see what I could see. A lot, as it turns out. (Google Maps)

When I arrived, I saw a few SOO switchers, CP 4526 under the Mannheim Road overpass, and UP 3236 and 2864 running out of the yard. The two Union Pacific units came to the end of the yard, the conductor lined up some switches, and they went back into the yard.

12:01 UP 3236, UP 2864

After a little ground-level photography, I decided to go up on the Mannheim Road overpass to shoot from there. The view east is great but the view west is obscured by wires in a number of places.

12:25 Westbound arriving at yard: NS 9347, NS 8835
-- In yard: SOO 2064, SOO 1595, SOO 1544, SOO 1532, SOO 1547

Things became very busy for a while...

12:44 CP westbound passed through yard.
12:46 Eastbound reading to leave with coal loads.: CP 8539, CP 9639. They pulled under the bridge but stopped short of the end of the yard.
12:47 Departing eastbound with mixed cargo: SOO 1553

-- Shunting yard: SOO 1546
-- Shunting tanks: CP 4526

It was difficult to figure out where to point my camera next!

13:02 Westbound arriving with doublestacks: SOO 4443, SOO 4446
13:03 Westbound Metra 1xx (6 cars)
13:07 Eastbound Metra 4xx (7 cars)

The real catch was a string of Norfolk Southern and CSX units coming out of the yard. They came down the yard ladder and under the overpass, before going back into the yard.

NS 9882, NS 9246, CSXT 7524, CSXT 5472, CSXT 8811, CSXT 8245, NS 9780
After that, I figured I should get to the airport. But I did catch one more train before getting home.

In Montreal, I stepped out of the Trudeau Airport for a minute to breathe some real air, and I saw an eastbound CP trailer train go by the Dorval station. Sorry, I didn't catch any numbers. :)

For other trip reports, see: