Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Saint John's Tuesday Trains

When I arrived in Saint John on Tuesday, I heard NBSR 2317 talking with the RTC. 2317 was heading up the transfer freight trying to get over to Island Yard. There was some MOW work going on near the Reversing Falls bridge that they had to wait for, then they got permission to proceed. Here 2317 and 9803 are going over the bridge at 10:00 with four boxcars and a bunch of doublestack container flats.

I caught them again at Bentley Street:

From the chatter on the radio it sounded like they would have to wait for another maintainer to finish putting some ballast on the tracks before they could proceed to Island Yard.

Speaking of Island Yard, CN 2573, 5559 and 5621 were parked in the yard while CN 7079 and NBSR 3701 did some shunting.

I was fortunate to catch a glimpse of the elusive Courtenay Bay potash switcher. This was literally a stop the car, jump out and take the picture shot, before the switcher disappeared behind a string of cars. That switcher is hard to photograph!

Radio chatter indicated that NB Southern would be sending a ballast train out at 3 PM.

Later in the day, I saw the CN 305 power over at the Courtenay Bay potash terminal. The smokestacks in the background are for the Courtenay Bay power plant, with the short one being the stack for the Bayside gas turbine.

I thought I would try an overhead shot from the Courtenay Bay causeway, so I parked nearby and walked over. I do not recommend this location, as it is not safe. There is no walkway and cars are zipping by at a good clip. Since I was there, I took the shot, but I will not return there again.

This looks dangerous but it really isn't. There was some chatter about when 305 could return to Island Yard. Apparently 7079 had some more switching to do, so 305 elected to go to Cain's Corner so as to clear the potash terminal and let them do some switching. 305 took 45 cars over and stopped just short of the crossing. One crewman walked over to the signal box and made the gates go back up, which is when I got this shot as I drove through the crossing.

Over on the west side, NBSR 3703 was doing some shunting at the west end of the yard. To my surprise, they had CN caboose 79624 with them. I had seen this caboose deep in the yard before, but I never had a chance to take a photo until now. I assume the caboose was there to provide additional braking power for 3703.

It's in pretty good shape, considering.

As I left Saint John, I heard someone say they were cutting one engine out of a consist to use as the ballast train's power. They were taking 10 cars out (+1 = a caboose?) and wouldn't be on the road until at least 15:30, which was too late for me. The eastbound freight was just getting into McAdam at 16:00.

Here's a little clip of 3703 I took with my Canon.


Anonymous said...

I always liked NBSR 3703. If you look closely, you'll see that the front of the cab has the semi-circular windows characteristic of pre-1950 EMD switchers. It may well be an SW1200, but what is the unit's heritage? Is it an NW2 rebuild? Did it have a replacement cab from an early unit?

Canadian Train Geek said...

According to the Canadian Trackside Guide, 3703 was originally Pennsy 7928, built in April 1958. It became Penn Central 9028 in 1968, then Conrail 9347 in 1975, then sold to Andrew Merrilees in 1996 before coming to NB Southern in the same year. I have a photo of 3702 in Conrail blue working on NBSR before it was repainted.

There is one photo of Conrail 9372 (now 3702) on Railpictures.