Saturday, May 31, 2008

NBEC 1819 in Sydney

Keiichi902 has another interesting video from Sydney, this time showing NBEC 1819 being pushed to the CB&CNS-SCR interchange. There is a gondola between the two engines, perhaps for spacing or perhaps it is also being interchanged.

NB Southern in the Rain

Despite the rain, I decided to head to McAdam to see the NB Southern Railway eastbound freight. My oldest son and I rolled through McAdam at about 11:30 and decided to cross the border to Vanceboro to catch the freight there. I had never been to Vanceboro so it was a new experience for both of us. After a quick stop at Customs, we were in the yard in Vanceboro. I'll post more about the yard later (see here). Suffice it to say there was not much there.

We heard the rumble of the engines long before the freight showed up. Shortly after noon Atlantic / 11 Eastern NBSR 2317 East rolled to a stop by the shack.

The freight had NBSR 2317, 2612, 2318 and 9801 for power, with 26 cars.

After about five minutes, they got underway and so did we. I got to the west end of McAdam yard well before they did, so I got this shot.

They pulled up to the station, then cut off the first 11 cars and pushed them back into the yard.

After a quick crew change, they were off. I decided to catch them at Harvey Lake, and I made it there about five minutes before they did.

The day was miserable enough that I decided not to chase any more, and headed home.

In case you're wondering, I was using my son's HP Photosmart 120 rather than my usual Canon S3 IS, because my wife has the good cameras this weekend.

More photos of Vanceboro

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hey, It's Me

An occupant of the caboose on last Saturday's NBSR excursion sent me this photo.

Yes, that's me giving the train the rollby inspection. ;) My Sony DCR-TRV25 is on the tripod and I'm holding the Canon S3 IS in my hand. The Saturn is not my normal railfan vehicle, but with the price of gas being what it is, I decided to take it instead of the van.

I think the shot was taken at Welsford, as the train was leaving on its way back to Saint John.

Sydney Coal Railway GP38 Video

Here's something a little different. Keiichi902 filmed a Sydney Coal Railways (ex-DEVCO) GP38-2 rolling light through Sydney, NS. This is a sister unit to NB Southern's 231x engines. The caption of the video states it was going to pick up an NBEC RS18 in Sydney for repairs. In case you're wondering why NBEC units go to SCR for repairs, both NBEC and SCR are owned by the Quebec Railway Corporation. Eastern Railway Services (ERS) in Campbellton does a lot of engine repairs, but some engines are sent via CN and CBNS to Sydney for repairs that can't be done at ERS.

NB Southern watchers may remember that NBSR 2318 stayed in Devco colours for quite a while before being repainted into NBSR green, unlike sisters 2317 and 2319 which were repainted into Sunbury yellow almost immediately. Here's a video I made showing NBSR 2318 leading a westbound freight on July 23, 2005.

Two Videos, One Location

Matt aka saintjohnrailfan posted a video of last night's NB Southern westbound train crossing Ferry Road in Grand Bay-Westfield, with NBSR 2612, 2318, 9801 and 2610 for power. I like the location!

Dave Dineen aka nbsrfan caught it moments later on the bend approaching Westfield Beach.

Nice videos, guys! Thanks for sharing them.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cumberland Railway and Coal Company Train Order

I recently won eight blank train orders from the Cumberland Railway and Coal Company. Here's what they look like.
Cumberland Railway and Coal Company Train Order

It looks like they were printed in November 1950. That would fit well before the closure of the railway in 1962. The CR&C operated near Springhill, Nova Scotia.

Anyone know what they mean by "Don't forget your cross... protect your train"? Is that the staff train order system that was in use on some railways? (Wikipedia)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

NB Southern Excursion Train

At long last, my post on Saturday's excursion trains.

I took my two youngest kids down to ride NB Southern's 2 PM excursion train. My intent was to meet up with the morning train in Welsford, chase it back to Saint John, have lunch, then ride the train at 2 PM. I arrived in Welsford shortly before 11 and there was no train. I headed down through Grand Bay-Westfield and found it around Sagwa. I chased it back and started shooting. Here it is, arriving at Welsford:

NBSR 2317 provided the power for the caboose 422990 and two of the usual three cars. I'm told one of the cars was in the shop being repaired.

They uncoupled 2317 and ran her down to the west end of the siding (video) then back up to the east end:

Once they coupled up, they were on their way back to Saint John:

I shot them shortly after Welsford at one of my favourite S-curves:

Next, coming up to Westfield Beach with the former CN bridges in the background:

I elected to shoot them at the overpass outside Grand Bay to get an overhead shot.

I left off the chase after that and went to see CN 405 and get some lunch. I went to Dever Road at 13:45 and picked up my tickets and boarded the train. I was surprised to see that there were quite a few empty seats. The three of us commandeered a table and waited for the train to roll.

Soon our conductor Gary came by to tell everyone that we were waiting for the eastbound freight to come into the yard. NBSR 2610 and two other GP38s ended up arriving at the end of the long lead, and we passed them on our way out. The freight had... wait for it... TWO cars.

The trip from Saint John to Welsford was very nice. I was on that trip a few years ago with my oldest son, so I didn't do any videotaping or photography this time around. The trip back to Saint John was done at a considerably higher speed, and we arrived back at about 16:30. The kids and I went up in the engine to blow the horn and ring the bell, then we were on our way home after one last photo.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dave's NB Southern Excursion Train Video

Dave Dineen put together a fantastic video of the two NBSR Rally of Hope excursion trains from Sunday May 25. Dave's description. He certainly had better weather than I did.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Northern New Brunswick, Part 2

As I mentioned, I saw and chased NBEC ore train 587 on Monday.

I first saw it in Bathurst. The conductor changed the batteries on the EOT (End Of Train) device as they were getting low. Then the engineer pushed the train back into the yard to pick him up:

Once that was done, the conductor called the RTC and got permission to travel the short bit of main line to mile 106.6 where the switch to the Nepisiguit Subdivision is located.
NBEC 1819 in Bathurst
The train had 34 cars (4 loads and 30 empties), and was 1787 feet long and 1528 tons.

I zipped down the line a bit to wait for them at one of my favourite spots, the one-lane bridge over the tracks just west of highway 11.
NBEC 1819 Leaving Bathurst

Then the chase was on! I saw them stopped at the switch at Nepisiguit Junction, so I went to the first highway 430 crossing. I decided to just shoot stills and do video with my Canon S3 here, since the light wasn't great behind the trees.

I figured Sewell Street would be a perfect spot to get the beautiful sunset light on the side of the train. However, a very aggressive dog was on the loose and I didn't want him nipping at me while I was shooting the train. No owner in sight, I might add.

With my tail between my legs (figuratively speaking), I retreated and went to the second highway 430 crossing. The bugs were getting pretty thick here as train 587 leaned into the curve.
NBEC Train 587 Crossing Highway 430

For my last photo, I went to the last accessible straight section before the line goes into the woods. A nice wave from the engineer, a rumble of Alcos, a clatter of freight cars, and that was it for train 587.
NBEC 587 on the Nepisiguit Subdivision

See Also

Northern New Brunswick, Part 1

Today was a good train day in northern New Brunswick.

VIA 14 was pretty much on time as it arrived in Miramichi. It had VIA 6413 and 6421 leading a Renaissance set.
VIA 6431 arriving at Miramichi

Here it is leaving Miramichi, just before passing the crew shack.
VIA 6431 and VIA 14, Miramichi

I noticed an SD40 over at Ultramar but didn't have time to go see which one it was. It definitely looks like there are no RS18s stationed in Miramichi any more. That's a shame, although I can't say I blame NBEC, given the lack of customers there.

As I passed over the NBEC main line at Bathurst, NBEC 1851 pulled train 597 right under me toward the yard, with several loaded woodchip cars and a few empty lumber cars. I assume those were from the UPM-Kymmene lumber mill on the Nepisiguit Subdivision.

I heard train 597 asking the dispatcher where train 402 was. They hadn't checked in, but I soon heard a track foreman call in to say that 402 was at mile 132 (Belledune). I hastened there and saw train 402 stopped on the main line by the Chaleur Lumber spur. After a couple of minutes, they throttled up and NBEC 6900 and CFMG 6906 pulled a long train toward Bathurst.
NBEC 6900 in Belledune

There was an interesting car in train 402. It looks like a relettered CN cement car.

I heard and saw train 586 (the empty ore train) leave Belledune at 16:20 but I didn't get any photos. There are a bunch of empty gypsum cars at Belledune, but given that the plant is shut down for a maintenance outage, I doubt they will be loaded for a few days.

Later, I was approaching Bathurst again around 18:20 when I heard some shunting over the scanner. I assumed that was the ore train getting its train together before heading to Brunswick Mines. Imagine my surprise when I saw the tail end of train 403 leaving the yard! 403 was quite late today.

There was an interesting MOW item in the Bathurst yard. I'm guessing this is a tie remover?

I saw and chased train 587, but I'll put that in the next post.

I decided to catch VIA 15 at Nepisiguit Junction. They were pretty much on time, and I didn't quite get to the east switch when Loto-Quebec VIA 6414 came around the bend.
VIA 6414 at Nepisiguit Junction

They had to stop to reline the switch left open by train 587. The conductor did the job then climbed back into 6414 as they accelerated toward Bathurst.

I shot VIA 15 leaving Bathurst from the St. Anne overpass in the failing light.
VIA 6414 leading VIA 15, Bathurst

That was it for today! Next post - train 587. I promise I'll blog about the NB Southern excursion train soon.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

News from Saint John

I'll get to the NB Southern excursion later, but here are a few tidbits from Saint John.

I saw CN 405 pull up to the Tim Hortons yesterday afternoon at 12:30. The conductor popped out of the nose door, and yelled hello to me. Turns out I know him well! :) It was Luc Doiron, new employee of CN back home in the Maritimes.

I did see NB Southern's new slug in Island Yard, NBSR 2008. I'm told it is YBU-4 (yard booster unit), ex-CN 519, retired on January 3 2008. It was not in a good position for photography but I got enough to confirm the number. I'm told it will be paired up with an ex-Devco unit, one of the 231x units, and it will be used in Saint John but the intent is to try it on the mainline freight to see if it can assist on the hills.

CN 7010 was doing some shunting in Island Yard after 405 left.

Video of NBSR 2317

Here is NBSR 2317 from yesterday, running up the west/north end of the Welsford siding on its way to couple up to the passenger train.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Slug For NBSR?

Phil Ross reported that CN 308 arrived in Moncton last night with CN 2536, BCRail 4625, CN 2423 and an ex CN slug. The slug's CN numbers were marked out and replaced with NBSR 2008 (!). Phil says it was one of CN 519-522.

Wakefield Steam Train For Sale

CBC. After the landslide I mentioned, I guess the owner has had enough. The CBC report also cites difficulties between the owner and the municipalities that own the railway the train ran on. Hopefully someone will step forward and keep the train running.

Friday, May 23, 2008

CN 7038 in McAdam

Gary Lee shot CN 7038 in McAdam on May 20. You can see it pulling two loaded wallboard cars out of the plant.

Kevin Gaudet saw it on the NB Southern westbound freight on May 18.

NB East Coast 402

David Chiasson also put a nice video of New Brunswick East Coast Railway train 402 on YouTube. This one was shot in April 2008 at Gloucester Junction, and features two SD40 units pulling the train toward Miramichi. It looks like 6900 and 6901 were the power, with a scant three boxcars, one tank car, and the 17-car Ultramar tank train as freight.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

RDCs on VIA 15

David Chiasson got a nice catch yesterday - two VIA RDCs on the end of VIA 15 near Bathurst.

All Aboard

NB Southern Railway Rally of Hope Train, 2007
I have booked tickets for the May 24 Rally of Hope excursion train. My two youngest kids and I will be on the 2 PM train. I intend to chase the 10 AM train from Welsford back to Saint John, then board the train at Dever Road by 2 PM. Tickets are still available for all days, and the cost is $20 per adult and $12 per child. Call (506) 632-5823 for tickets.

NBEC 1835 to Ottawa Central

NBEC 1835 in Bathurst
I heard that NBEC 1835 is being sold/transferred to the Ottawa Central Railway. The OCRR is another railway owned by the Quebec Railway Corporation, which owns NBEC, CFMG, OCRR, COGEMA, CFC and SCR. Is that enough alphabet soup for you? :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Albany-Area Amtrak Videos

I didn't take any video when I saw my sole Amtrak train in Albany, but others have. Here's a nice video by Matthew J. Betzner showing four Amtrak trains through Albany: the Lakeshore Limited, two Empire trains, and the Maple Leaf.

This one shows an Amtrak train with two private cars on the tail end, in West Albany.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I was in Albany, New York last week for a few days. I saw a couple of trains from the air as we descended but nothing else for a few days.

On the 15th, I was done my work by noon and my flight wasn't due to leave until 4 PM, so I decided to take a cab to downtown Albany. On the way there I noted an interesting railway bridge across the Hudson River. I grabbed some lunch and walked to the Erastus Corning Riverfront Park to take a few pictures of it.

Then I walked a little ways northwest to a rail junction. Just about 30 seconds after I arrived there, I heard the hum of an approaching engine. I turned the trusty Fuji point-and-shoot on and captured Amtrak 709 pulling a six-car train northwest. According to Amtrak's schedules, this was probably the Empire Service train 281, running a few minutes late.

After that bit of excitement, I returned to the park to hopefully see another train. I heard an engine idling near the Albany-Rensselaer station, but I never saw anything until 14:15 when I saw a train pull up to the station. Apparently it had been sitting just outside the station for quite a while. I had to leave at that point, alas. Had I known there was a whole service depot there, I might have looked for a way to cross the river and have a look. Oh well... next time, if there is one.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Another CN 405 Chase

Matt the saintjohnrailfan shot CN 405 going to the Courtenay Bay potash terminal to get empty cars, and then the same train returning. There's a little cameo of Kevin Gaudet in there too.

Matt also caught the train blasting through Hampton on its way to Moncton with CN 2650 and 5698.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Matt's New Camera

Matt got a new camera and took it out for its inaugural run. Looks good!

Here's CN 405 returning to Island Yard with CN 2661, 5368 and 5732 with potash empties.

Later, he caught 405 going by the Rothesay station.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Belledune Gypsum

As I mentioned a while ago, synthetic gypsum is being shipped by rail from Belledune to Saint John. I had the opportunity early this month to see the cars on site at Belledune. There were two blocks of seven cars on the one siding in the plant.

Here's a closeup of one of the cars, with the gypsum pile a pile of limestone behind it. The limestone is used in the scrubbing process to remove the contaminants from the power plant's exhaust.

Most of the cars were the same CN 198xxx series used to ship the raw gypsum from Nova Scotia to McAdam, but a few are gondolas.

Train 587 of the New Brunswick East Coast Railway takes the gypsum cars to Bathurst, where they get on NBEC train 402 to Moncton. There, CN takes them to Saint John on train 406, and finally NB Southern Railway delivers the cars to a location behind Irving Paper where they are unloaded.

Monday, May 12, 2008

NBSR in McAdam

Gary Lee posted two videos of eastbound NB Southern Railway freights in McAdam. This one shows a freight train arriving in McAdam. The power was 2610, 2612, 9801, and 2318.

And this one shows a freight leaving. This time the power was 2318, 9801, 2612, and 2610.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

NBSR Rally of Hope Excursion Trains

The 2008 Rally of Hope charity trains will run on May 24, May 25, June 14 and June 15. They will run at 10 AM and 2 PM each day. Call (506) 632-5823 for tickets.
NB Southern Rally of Hope Train

NBSR at the Port

Joe filmed an NB Southern Railway local leaving the Port of Saint John with NBSR 2317 and NBSR 370? and some autoracks.

Not sure what the track walking at the end was about. :)

CN 405

Matt the Saint John railfan chased CN 405 on Friday from Saint John all the way to Salisbury. The power was the same that I saw in Saint John on Friday.

First, 405 going to Courtenay Bay, then going through Hampton.

Here it is outside Sussex.

He tried to get it at Salisbury, but unfortunately his camera's batteries died.

Good chase, and thanks for sharing!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

NBEC 6904 in Miramichi

Dave Dineen was in Miramichi on this past (rainy) Thursday, filming SD40 NBEC 6904 on the Loggieville Spur in Miramichi. The video shows it working the Ultramar plant in what used to be called Chatham.

It appears that NBEC no longer has any RS18s in Miramichi, choosing to use a single SD40 for both local duties and the freight from Miramichi to Moncton and back. Given the dearth of traffic in the area, it makes sense. Still, I miss the MLWs.

Saint John and Beyond Friday

I made a (now rare) visit to Saint John on Friday. My first sighting was an NBSR GP38 and SW1200 in behind Moosehead near Reversing Falls at 11:35. I whipped my trusty Canon S3 out to take a long-distance shot when... it didn't work. Again. I cursed and swore and just about threw the camera into the swollen Saint John river. Grrrr.

I continued driving, and it occurred to me that maybe the batteries were low. I stopped at Staples and swapped my camera's batteries for the scanner's. Lo and behold, it worked! Phew.

While I was there, I saw CN 2617, 5414 and 2675 at rest in Island Yard, and CN 7010 working the yard.
CN 7010 in Saint John

At 13:25 I heard CN 405 say they were going to get 29 potash cars from Courtenay Bay.

At 14:55, I heard CN 405 get its orders to proceed to McCully's, with 2675 leading.

I heard that the eastbound NBSR freight had left McAdam just before 3 PM, so I figured they would be in Fredericton Junction at around 4 PM. That just barely fit into my time restrictions, so I decided to go for it. I reached Tracy at 3:52 and parked by the bridge by the river. I took a few shots of the river, hoping the train would show up before I had to go at 4 PM. I was walking back to my car when I heard it blow its horn for the highway 645 crossing. Quickly I went back to the bridge and shot it a few times at long distance before taking video. These shots would have been better if my camera was not set to ISO 400. Anyway, I am quite happy with the video.
NBSR 2318 in Tracy New Brunswick
NBSR 2318 in Tracy New Brunswick
The train had NBSR 2318, 9801, 2612, and 2610 for power, with a respectable 56 cars.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Fredericton Station Update

The Fredericton railway station is in the news again. The Daily Gleaner published an update on the station, featuring quotes from... me. :)

I became a director of the Fredericton Friends of the Railway Inc. last year. The Friends are a small group dedicated to enabling the restoration of the station, and have achieved some success in bringing parties together to talk about the station.

Enterprise Fredericton is going to determine the actual cost of restoration for the station. They will be updating older studies and engaging some professional help to get a real cost. There are a number of figures being tossed around, anywhere from $400,000 to $6-8 million, so a real number would be very useful.

As I said in the article, any development on the station is promising.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Saint Stephen Locals

Gary Lee has posted two videos featuring the Saint Stephen local trains. You can tell it's the local because of the caboose on the end.

First, here's the local arriving in McAdam with NBSR 2318.

Next, the local in McAdam with NBSR 2317 as the power. I can't tell if it is arriving in McAdam or leaving for Saint Stephen.

NBEC 402 Through Gloucester Junction

NBECMich aka Michel Boudreau posted a video of NBEC 6900 and another SD40 pulling a short train through Gloucester Junction on May 4.

CFMG Ballast Hoppers in Miramichi

For the MOW-oriented amongst us, here are shots of two CFMG ballast hoppers I saw in Miramichi on May 1.
CFMG 91189 in Miramichi
CFMG 91189 is a lovely orange/red. I can't tell when it was built but it looks like it was rebuilt in May 1982.

CFMG 300072 in Miramichi
The beautiful CFMG 300072, built in January 1959.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Marathon Man

Matt the saintjohnrailfan has a "CN Movie Marathon" on Youtube, featuring four clips of CN 405 doing its business around Saint John yesterday (May 5) and then on its way to Moncton.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Flickr Surfing

I was browsing Flickr looking for photos of the Perth-Andover train bridge, and stumbled across these photos.

brikwall has a railroad photo set featuring the New Brunswick Railway Museum as well as a pair of VIA photos.

ClickClique aka Larry Krause has a nice shot of NBEC 6905 on a bridge.

KayteThinks has two photos of the old Woodstock railway bridge in its current decrepit state.

Kevin's Videos

Here are links to a few of Kevin's videos from May 3.

VIA 14 at Amherst.
CN 407 at Amherst with 2581, 2617, 5698 & 5706.
VIA 15 at Amherst - very nice.
CN 305 leaving Moncton with CN 8813, IC 1009 and CN 2506.
VIA 15 leaving Moncton.

Saturday Photos From Kevin Gaudet

Kevin was out railfanning between Moncton and Amherst, and caught quite a few trains.

Here is 6410 leading VIA 14 into Moncton.

Next, VIA 14 into Amherst.

A westbound CN freight in Amherst.

CN 8813 working Gordon Yard in Moncton.

Finally, VIA 6426 leading VIA 15 out of Moncton.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

NBEC Ore Train

Here are two videos of the NB East Coast Railway ore train.

This one shows the ore train pushing back into the Bathurst yard in the evening of May 1.

Next day, the ore train was leaving Bathurst for Belledune. Unfortunately they had some engine trouble and had to return after this video was taken.

CN 123 Detouring Through Bathurst

Here is CN 123 detouring in the rain through Bathurst, as described in a previous post. They went through on May 1 at 22:32 with CN 5704, IC 2462, CN 4775, and another GP38 for power.

Another Detour Video

Not by me... by grignosse from the Rogersville area, I believe. It looks like it was CN 120, judging by the solid container consist and the ZIM and Canadian Tire containers. It's a nice overhead shot.

View the video

Saturday, May 03, 2008

CN Detour, Days 2 and 3 and over

I heard nothing in Bathurst Friday morning, except for NBEC train 587 getting ready to go to Belledune in the rain.
NBEC 1868 and 1821 in Bathurst
NBEC 1868 and 1821 were the power, except they kept having problems with 1821. They pulled out of the yard at 06:50, with 1868 pulling her heart out. They stopped soon afterward and pushed back into the yard, and I believe they doubled the train from Bathurst to Belledune. I heard a horn blow at 09:10 in Belledune so that was probably them.

I heard nothing in Bathurst Friday evening, either. I headed down to Miramichi, and as I approached I heard someone talking about a hot wheel on the 136th car. Since NBEC doesn't run trains that large in Miramichi, it had to be a CN detour. It turned out to be CN 308. The head end was stopped just short of the UPM-Kymmene mill, and the tail end was just out of the NBEC yard. The power was CN 8807, CN 5414, and IC 6058.
CN 8807 on CN 308 in Miramichi, NB
IC 6058 in Miramichi, NB

21:40ish VIA 15 met CN 122 at Irvco (Belledune)

May 3:
01:15 CN 122 through Rogersville with 2550 and 2621
06:20 CN 120 through Tide Head, passed by VIA 14 in Campbellton

That was the last train of the detour, as CN's main line is now open.

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