Sunday, September 28, 2008

CN and NBEC... Again

Very strong rumours are swirling that there will be an announcement about a deal between CN and the Quebec Railway Corporation (QRC) on Tuesday September 30. This first surfaced in the spring of this year and came to an end in June. This time it seems to be pretty firm. We'll have to wait and see.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Chaleur over the Trestle

Here is a photo of the first Chaleur train over the newly-rebuilt trestle near mile 40, by David Morris. The trestle was washed out in early August. The Chaleur crossed on Monday, September 22.

The train had engines 6412 and 6420 leading baggage car 8618, coach 8140, Skyline 8503, sleepers CADILLAC and DENONVILLE, diner ACADIAN, and sleepers ROUVILLE, BIENVILLE, and LAUZON.

Here's one more shot of the same train, also by David Morris.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rally of Hope Train Ride

There will be another NB Southern excursion train to benefit the Saint John Regional Hospital. The train will leave from Harbour Station at 1 PM on Saturday, October 18 and proceed to Welsford and back.

Tickets are $20.00 for adults, $12.00 for children 12 and under. Call (506) 632-5823 to reserve tickets, and pick up tickets at NBSR's office at 11 Gifford Road in the yard. Tickets will be sold on a first come first serve basis.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Matt's Excellent Halifax Adventure

Matt aka saintjohnrailfan went to Halifax and saw a few trains hither and yon. Here are what I consider to be his best videos.

This is quite a nice night video of CN 121. Doing night video is hard, but Matt did a great job here. What is especially notable about this video is the VIA 6202 RDC on the end of the train.

This video of CN 120 at Enfield, NS is quite nice with the fog and early morning light.

A nice high-speed video of CN 407 at Brookfield, NS just outside Truro.

You can see the whole playlist here.

Saint John Trains 2008/09/23

On a rare trip into Saint John Tuesday afternoon, I lucked out and saw several trains.

I noticed the end of CN 405 near Harbour Station, moving, so I figured 405 was pulling up to Tim's to get coffee and orders. As I passed Island Yard, I saw GP9 CN 7038 on the track leading to the refinery, probably waiting for 405 to get out of the way.

Sure enough, CN 2432, CN 5510 and BCOL 4603 were parked short of the road by Tim Hortons at 15:19.
CN 2432 on train 405 in Saint John, NB
The light was awful as usual for that location. I took a few shots then ducked into Tim's for a moment. When I came out, I heard the thrum of engines and knew they were on their way, so I stood by the drive-thru line and shot a short video.

On my way back down Rothesay Avenue, I saw the NBSR local waiting to cross Rothesay Avenue from the refinery area. CN 7060 and NBSR 3701 provided the power. The light was not bad here.
CN 7060 and NBSR 3701 in Saint John, NB
Once CN 7038 cleared the track, the local rolled on through.

Of course, I realize now that someone was messing with the camera settings and all my photos were taken at 640 x 480 pixels instead of 2816 x 2112 like my camera SHOULD. Darn it. Oh well, I'm pretty sure I have a few dozen OTHER photos of 7060 and 3701.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fredericton Station in the News

Sorry I haven't been blogging for the past few days. The Fredericton railway station has been in the news over the weekend, after Mayor Brad Woodside stated "fix it or tear it down". I've been making and fielding a few calls and communicating with good friend Tim Scammell as we have been following the reporting. You can see a few of the articles I blogged about on the railway station blog.

I'll get back to current news soon. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

CFMG Maintenance of Way Video

Here's a unique video by PhotosMaxMar featuring some of CFMG's MOW (Maintenance of Way) equipment. I like it a lot.

Monday, September 15, 2008

VIA Detour Ending

The damaged bridge in Causcapical, Quebec has been repaired and the NBEC / CFMG line is now open and the VIA detour is over. I'm glad I caught it when I did.
VIA 614 in the fog at McGivney

Video of NBEC Ore Train

David Chiasson has posted a nice video of NBEC 587 on its way to Brunswick Mines. Here are NBEC 1849 and 1821 pulling a solid block of blue ore cars along the Nepisiguit Subdivision on September 10, 2008.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Appointment at McGivney

I decided to head to McGivney to see VIA 614 detour through there. Given my disappointment from the last time I went for the detour, I allotted plenty of time before and after the expected time to catch the Ocean.

I left home at about 06:15 and I was in McGivney by 07:00. The weather was overcast but not bad, until about 10 km from McGivney when the fog rolled in. Drat!

When I arrived, the east-facing signals showed green over red, indicating a westbound was coming. I set up near the depot, then got out my Model Railroader magazines and started reading. After a while, I heard a thrum and it turned out to be CN 121 (I believe) rocketing through at 07:27.

I believe the power was 2261, 2436, 5529, 8xxx, and a GP38 and a GP9.

I decided to take a walk to the west end of the siding, since I'd never seen it before. I walked past the 30 bulkhead flatcars in the storage siding, then well into the boonies before I finally reached the other end at mile 87.1. Quite a walk - 1.6 miles.

I waited there for about 5 minutes, then I decided to start walking back. Of course, that's when I heard the hum of an approaching engine. I quickly set up to get VIA 6400 split the signals at 08:42.

So if my last time was disappointment, this must have been an "appointment". ;)

Word has it that the detour will last until September 17 (Wednesday).

Friday, September 12, 2008

My Book

I created a photo book tonight on Lulu with my best VIA Rail photos. It's really quite easy to do on Lulu.

Check it out!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Message for the Atlantic Transport Ministers

CBC News is reporting that Atlantic transportation ministers are meeting tomorrow (Friday) "in Charlottetown to draft a united message in advance of a national meeting scheduled for later this month in Toronto."

The article goes on to say that they will try to agree on "issues of common interest, such as ferry services, road construction, maintenance and airport security."

We don't need more road money. What we need:
  • Public transit funding

  • Return of VIA Rail services to Saint John, Fredericton (by way of McGivney or Fredericton Junction)

  • Support for taking trucks off the road and putting freight on rails where they belong

Let's hope that at the very least, public transit funding will be discussed at the national meeting. It's a travesty how poorly funded public transit is in the Atlantic provinces.

NBSR Videos

Gary Lee put a couple of videos up. In this one he is riding in NBSR 2317 as it crosses the main road, presumably shunting the yard.

This one shows NBSR 9801, 2318, 2612, and 2317 leaving McAdam with the eastbound freight.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grand Bay Washout Photos

Bob Boudreau was sent some photos of the washout in Grand Bay. There are some very interesting photos "as it happened".

Here's another photo I took on Monday, later in the afternoon when they were repairing the track.

Be sure to look at Bob's photos.

Export Train

CN 436 is rolling across our fair province carrying 17 locomotives for export. I'm told the power is CN 2250. They left Joffre, Quebec at 23:45 last night.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Skilled Railroader Videos

Mike the skilledrailroader posted a video of NBEC 403 at Jacquet River, NB from September 1 of this year. The train had only one unit, NBEC 6901, and 48 cars.

One segment of this video of mine was shot from the very same place. It's a little iron bridge over the tracks - a good spot.

Another video from the same day, I think, is VIA 15 doing a flag stop at the Jacquet River station with VIA 6426 and 6412.

He posted another NBEC video quite a while ago of NBEC train 402 at Petit Rocher on April 9, 2007.

1994 Causapscal Derailment Video

Trainmasterpat has posted a video showing the wreck site of a CN derailment at Causapscal, Quebec, the same place that CFMG derailed Thursday night. Watch video

Speaking of the CFMG derailment, apparently the bridge was damaged and will need about a week to repair. During this time, VIA is detouring trains over the Napadogan subdivision again. Hopefully someone will get some photos!

NB Southern Line Open

After last weekend's washout in Grand Bay, and yesterday's repairs, the NB Southern main line was open for business last night. The westbound freight arrived in McAdam around 3 to 4 AM this morning and the corresponding eastbound is due in McAdam around noon, assuming it hasn't already arrived. A good job by the MOW crews.

Monday, September 08, 2008

NB Southern Washout Photos

I happened to be going to Saint John today, so on the way I drove through Grand Bay to see if I could find the washed-out track. At Ferry Road in Westfield I saw two NB Southern MOW vehicles doing some work on the track near the crossing.

To my untrained eye, it looked like they were redistributing the ballast.

I also noticed three empty NBSR log cars in the Westfield Beach siding. I have never seen anything but MOW equipment in this siding.

The actual track washout happened in downtown Grand Bay. It looks like about 40' of track was undercut.
NB Southern Track Washout

There were a few people there, apparently waiting for more loads of gravel. I spoke to one of the MOW people and they said the track should be reopened tonight. I presume it will have a slow order!
NB Southern Track Washout
You can click on those photos for a larger view.

Rail Washout on NBSR

Tropical storm Hanna did some damage to the roads and rails around the province. CBC is reporting that 45m of the NB Southern line in Grand Bay has been washed out with the rails hanging in mid-air. No word on any detours but I think it unlikely. Read the article

Sunday, September 07, 2008

NB Southern UNICEF Train

Matt Keoughan passed on this news item. NB Southern Railway will operate a passenger train with caboose from McAdam to St. Stephen and return on Friday Sept. 26. Tickets are $45. They can be purchased in advance by calling Herb Caverhill at 506-466-6854. Occupancy in the van is up for auction, which means as many people as you want can ride in it. A great way to split the cost.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

VIA Railfan Trip to Moncton

Ron Jackson and Andrew Reid are organizing another railfan trip. The last one was held at the end of April of this year. Here is Ron's description:

"Andrew and I have put together another Railfan trip. This one will be to Moncton for a visit to IRSI. We will leave Halifax on Oct. 3 at 12:35 on [VIA] number 15 and return on Oct. 5th on number 14. We will visit IRSI on the Saturday morning and Andrew has something planned for Saturday afternoon. On Saturday night we are planning to go as a group to a local restaurant for dinner (Vito's Italian). A group rate at the Colonial Inn, which is close to the train station (within walking distance) has been arranged. The bus we will use on Saturday only holds 30 and the Colonial has a limited number of rooms, so book early as we will cut it off at 30."

"On the train, normally coach passengers don't get access to the diner, but our group will be able to have lunch both ways. We will not be able to use the Dome car as the train has other groups booked in Easterly both ways. I likely will be able to take small groups back to the Dome for short periods of time depending on how busy the Dome is."

The Costs

Hotel $84.00 plus tax per night. Two per room or single. The rooms must be booked by Sept 20th. The rooms are booked under my name Ron Jackson and the number for the Hotel is 1-800-561-4667.

Bus TBD depends on the numbers

Train $58.00 per person tax included return.

Lunch $28.00 per person tax included for both meals

"The train and meals must be paid directly to me so we can all get the rate and the lunch sitting. Cash or cheque ok on the day of departure. The train and meals must be booked before Sept 20 and there is a $17.50 penalty if you cancel after Sept 20th. You can book the train and meals either by my e-mail or call me on my cell (902) 402-8403"

Friday, September 05, 2008

CFMG Derailment

I'm told the CFMG derailed two cars in Causapscal, Quebec on the Mont-Joli subdivision just before midnight last night. This has blocked the line in Quebec and forced some changes. The derailment is expected to be cleared soon.

VIA 615 returned to Campbellton and spent the day there, after turning on the wye in Matapedia this morning. It will become VIA 614 to Halifax Saturday morning.

NBEC train 402 arrived in Moncton at 14:45 with CFMG 6910 and 6909 leading 34 Ultramar cars (two rams of 17 cars each). Likely the empty Ultramar cars will go west on the Napadogan sub on CN 305 or 473 to the refinery in St. Romald, Quebec. Rumour has it that 6909 is going to Sydney.

EDIT: Réal D gave me the correct spelling for Causapscal and provided me a link to his video showing a forklift transferring lumber from a damaged centerbeam flatcar to another.

Canadian Pacific Railway Reunion in McAdam

The "Second Annual Railroaders Reunion" in McAdam has been announced. It will be on Saturday, September 13 from noon to 4 PM. Details are on the Village of McAdam home page. It's not exactly open to the public but "all those affiliated with the railway (past and present)" and their families are invited.

Last year they had CP 4563 down from Exporail for the reunion. No word on whether something similar is proposed for this time.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

We Got Ourselves A Convoy

As I said in my previous post, a CN employee saw the lineup coming out of Winnipeg and said, "We got ourselves a CONVOY!"

The first westbound across the diamond was train #105 with CN 2220 and 2656 and a solid intermodal train at 09:51. In this photo the engines have passed the signals protecting the diamond.

Next up was CN 5683 and 2441 with a 162 car merchandise train at 10:08. This photo shows the engines have already passed the diamond and are by the west-facing signals.

My time was up at this point, so I packed everything up and took a few shots of CN Diamond before heading back to the Perimeter. I decided to have "one more look" trackside before going, and to my surprise there was another westbound. Westbound CN train #199 with 5714 and 5242 rolled under the TCH at 10:31 with another solid intermodal train. I don't know the car count because I ran out of tape after the first 50 or so platforms, but they said they had 10,053 feet.

The conductor told the RTC they had a student conductor on board, and sure enough, here he or she is, between the two regular crew members:

I got the "clear signal" to head home so that was the end of the CONVOY for me. Six trains in two hours - not bad at all!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dust in the Wind... On the Tracks

I'm enjoying reading the latest few posts on the blog Dust on the Tracks. He spent his vacation here in the east and took some photos of CN, NBEC and VIA. Check it out!

CN Outside Winnipeg

Typically when I am in Winnipeg, I spend a morning on the CN mainline between highway 90 and highway 42 (aka Kenaston and Pembina). It's OK but I wanted something a little more "wide open" this time, so on August 24 I went west, young man, to the intersection of the Perimeter (the Trans-Canada Highway) and Wilkes Avenue (here).

I arrived there and had a quick look east and west, and an eastbound train was upon me almost before I knew it. CN 5768 and 5276 led a long container train with 144 platforms.

I did a bit of looking east, not finding any good locations, so I went west up Wilkes to highway 334 (Harris Road) near the diamond where CN and CP cross. Here I found some wide-open fields, perfect for what I was looking for. The only problem with this location is that the tracks run almost perfectly east-west, so for morning shots like I was taking the sun is problematic. Westbound trains are coming out of the sun, and eastbound trains get the sun on the nose and not much on the sides.

The next train I saw was eastbound unit train #772 at 09:02, with CN 5637 and 5763 leading 102 CN open-top cars.

Note the stylized P on the side of CN 196526.

Not long after that, another eastbound pounded the diamond at 09:17 with CN 2532 and 2536 pulling another unit train (106 cars), this time grain cars, I believe.

I moved up to the diamond itself after that train, looking for a different angle and wanting to incorporate some signals into my shots.

The next few trains were all westbounds. As one of the CN conductors said on the radio, "Looks like we got ourselves a CONVOY!"

--continued in part 2--

EDIT: Added train number.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

NB Southern Switching Irving Wallboard

Kevin Gaudet has a few videos on YouTube of NBSR switching the Irving Wallboard plant on Bayside Drive. It was actually leased CN GP9s 7010 and 7060 doing the work.

Pulling loads
Shunting and leaving

And something a bit different, the Sunday evening westbound leaving NBSR's Dever Road yard with 2612, 2318, 2319, 9801 and 2317 for power.
Leaving in the dark