Friday, January 30, 2009

NBEC Videos

I found a few recent NBEC/CFMG videos to show what power is being run these days.

cfmgd is posting videos from sunny Rimouski, Quebec. Here CN 9461, NBEC 6901, and CFMG 6902 power a train on January 24, 2009. Great sound and some nice snowplowing.

Interestingly, NBEC69 shot a video at the same location the next day. No snow plowed, but still great sound with the diesel thrum and blowing for the crossing. This train had CFMG 6902, NBEC 6901 and CFMG 6910 for power.

Here's a night video from January 23 by cfmgd, with all SD40 power: CFMG 6902, NBEC 6901, and CFMG 6907.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Model Trains For Sale

For those who are modelers, I am selling some model train cars. Mosey on over to the photo gallery and see if something catches your eye. They are all fairly low-end items that don't fit with the era I am planning to model. If you want any of them, email me at or comment here. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

RS-18s in Bathurst

I hear that there are four RS-18s working out of Bathurst now... NBEC 1821, 1849, 1851 and 1868. I understand the CN GP40s were not really suitable for the ore train run, so perhaps CN is putting the RS-18s back for now until they can find a better engine. Wouldn't it be great if the best engine for the job WAS an RS-18?


Back in August 2002, I was out west for a four-province tour. We spent a day in Banff, Alberta and I managed to convince my wife to stop at the former CP station for a few minutes while I snapped some photos. It was a glorious day... unfortunately no trains came by while we were there.

CP snowplows 400840 and 401036 wait for winter.

This was an interesting piece of equipment. It is a specialized vacuum truck for cleaning up spilled grain from the tracks. This helps keep the wildlife off the tracks and away from the trains.

CP 402869, a spreader, also waits for winter.

A westward view from the station platform.

A freight shed at Banff.

As I said, I didn't see any trains at Banff, but here's a video of a CP freight rolling past the station by a gentleman from England.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

CN/NBEC News Items

There's a notice on CN's web site that indicates they are intending to complete integration of the CN and Quebec Railway Corporation customer systems by February 1. Customers will get a single CN bill, work under a new tariff system, and probably most importantly, pay a fuel surcharge for local traffic.

There is also an article in Friday's Moncton Times & Transcript about the Port of Belledune. The port is very encouraged by CN's acquisition and hopes that it will lead to more business for the port. Containers at Belledune was raised again, as it has over the past number of years.

If all these projects go through, every port on the Atlantic coast would handle containers, it seems. Projects are being discussed for Sydney, Canso and Belledune. It seems strange that when the container traffic at Halifax and Saint John has plummeted, other ports are so optimistic.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Caboose On Satellite

I think I found the caboose for sale outside Fredericton on the satellite map of Google Maps. The address is 819 Royal Road, which is the address of M.L. Wilkins and Sons, a lumber yard. Looking at the Kijiji ad's photos and the satellite map, it's in the center of this view.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cab Ride on NBSR

Gary Lee posted a neat cab video of NBSR 9801 rolling into St. Stephen. It looks like they are crossing highway 1 just at the entrance to the town.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

NBEC Unit Update

Units On The System
RS-18s: 1813, 1819, 1821, 1845, 1849, 1851, 1856, 1857 and 1868.
SD40s: 10 of 11 running (CFMG 6909 in Montreal for work)
GP40-2W: Several
SD40-2W: 6 stored outside the shop

CFQC 3000 is leased to Bell Gaz.
OCRR 1842 and 1859 sold to St. Thomas & Eastern.

NBEC 1859 at Bathurst on July 17, 2002

VIA 14 Backing Up

Kevin Gaudet has a very nice video of VIA 14 backing up through Sackville on Saturday after the CN derailment. I really liked how he included the scanner conversation in the video. Watch

He also has it backing out of Amherst.

Jackass Railfans

I heard a report that some railfans from Ontario trespassed at the Eastern Railway Services shops in Campbellton and stole number boards from three units there (CN 5241, NBEC 1809 and CFMG 6907). Apparently they were climbing all over everything, without any permission or safety gear, of course. They were sent away once and came back again at night.

Throw the book at these jerks. Theft is theft and trespassing is not to be tolerated. It's one thing to get a number board from a unit as it is scrapped, with permission; it's another to steal it off a running unit without permission.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wanna Buy a Caboose?

CN 79688 is for sale out on the Royal Road not far outside Fredericton. It's a steal at $11,000 (or best offer)... oh yes, and you have to move it too.

I had no idea there was a caboose there.

I'd go out and see it, but it wouldn't be honest as I don't have any interest in buying a caboose. My wife would not appreciate it! ;)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Northern Maine Junction

I did my first Maine railfanning today (if you don't count my very brief time in Vanceboro in May last year) at Northern Maine Junction in Hermon, Maine just outside Bangor. NMJ is the home of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway and it is apparently an interchange with Pan Am Railways (formerly Guilford). I drove around a bit and I saw four Pan Am locomotives and one very distant MM&A locomotive.

Springfield Terminal 52 near what appears to be an old coal dock. There's a sign on the dock that says "Designed and built by Roberts and Schaefer Co. Chicago, U.S.A."

ST 45 was coupled to ST 52.

Boston & Maine 335 and Maine Central 370 were coupled together a little further along.

I saw a string of cars on the mainline with a FRED on the rear. The cars included some empty New Brunswick Southern Railway log cars (2003, 6057 for example). I saw a couple of snowplows too but I couldn't get close enough to get numbers.

I saw MM&A 3609 in the distance but couldn't get a good shot.

Nothing much was going on, but I'm glad I dropped by!

CN Derailment

There was a derailment this afternoon on the CN mainline somewhere east of Amherst. It is supposed it was CN 407. VIA 14 made it to Amherst and presumably will go back from there, although there is no wye to turn them anywhere in the vicinity. VIA 15 (with 6400 leading) went to Truro and will likely turn there on the wye.

CN 405

Matt aka saintjohnrailfan shot CN 405 rolling through the snow January 14 at Bloomfield Station Road. The train was a big one, with four units (CN 5709, 4721, 5647 & CN/IC 2723) with 154 cars. Apparently a trainee I know was on the train... seemed to be going OK in spite of him. ;)

He shot 405 the day before (January 13) in Rothesay with two of the same units (5647 and 2723) and a shorter train with a mere 108 cars.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

VIA From David Morris

David Morris is a passenger train fan, and he enjoys photographing and riding VIA Rail in particular. Here are a few photos and consists from his pre-Christmas tour.

2008/12/18: VIA Chaleur #616
Engines: 6444, 6408
Cars: 8622, 8103, 8140, 8509, ROUVILLE, SALABERRY, EMPRESS, DOLLARD

On board the Chaleur at Port Daniel:

They met Extra 1821 West at Gaspe:

The train at the end of the line in Gaspe:

2008/12/21 VIA Ocean #14 in Campbellton
Engines: 6404, 6400

NBEC Update

Michel Boudreau reports that an RS18 is back as the power for Bathurst local train 587. Here's a shot of NBEC 1849 at work.

He noted CN 9461, 9452 and another GP40 powering the ore train on January 12.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Greater Winnipeg Water District Railway

When I'm in Winnipeg, I often visit the Greater Winnipeg Water District Railway (GWWD) to see what's going on there. The GWWD maintains the aqueduct that supplies the majority of Winnipeg's fresh water. It has done so for many years, and since there is no road in the area of the aqueduct, it is likely to continue doing so for some time.

Their yard is just off Archibald Street (Route 30) on Plinguet and is easy to see from the road. The people are pretty friendly and I haven't found problems taking pictures, as long as I stay out of the way, of course.

They have a motley assortment of rolling stock, some custom-modified and some hand-me-downs from the bigger railways. They have a few ex-CP ex-BC Rail RS-23s that they use for motive power, and at one time they had operating railbuses. It's an interesting operation.

Here's where you can find my GWWD photos.

This is a (silent) video of GWWD 202 bringing a flatcar up for loading.

The crew loaded a couple of small buildings onto the flatcar with a crane.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rail Grinder in New Brunswick

Rail grinder RG309 is in New Brunswick. Wendell Lemon reported it went down the Sussex subdivision from Moncton late this morning. Jeremy MacPherson reported it in Petitcodiac around 2 PM, and Wendell reported it returned to Moncton late in the afternoon. Perhaps it will venture farther toward Saint John tomorrow. When it is not grinding, it travels at track speed.

RG309 is Loram's rail grinder machine. It grinds the tops of rails down to a specified profile to enable better, more reliable operation of trains. RG309 is not capable of doing switches and crossings, so another machine will follow up to do those. Photos of RG309

David Othen has a nice video showing a rail grinder at work in the Halifax area, in his DVD Trains in Nova Scotia Volume 2. I own this and I recommend it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Video from Saturday

Here's my video of NBSR 9803 and 2612 coming off the Reversing Falls bridge.

Any better locations at that end of the bridge?

Saint John Saturday

My kids and I went to Saint John to visit Valley Hobbies, and of course to see some trains.

We discovered NBSR 9803 and 2612 leaving the Dever Road yard just before noon, so we went across Reversing Falls and shot them coming through the bridge. My son Nick took these two photos:

I particularly like the going-away shot.

We followed them down past Harbour Station and they stopped just short of Island Yard, as both tracks into the yard were blocked by cars. I talked with the very friendly crew and they told me that CN 405 was coming down to get their cars.

We decided to go have lunch. After that, I went to Island Yard to find 405 but they weren't there. Scanner chatter showed they were just leaving Courtenay Bay, so after a little driving we got some poor shots of them going by Staples into Island Yard. We decided the best course of action was to go to Valley Hobbies in Rothesay and then come back, hopefully grabbing them before they left for Moncton.

We did that, and on the way back into Saint John there was no sign of 405. As I got onto Rothesay Avenue I heard them say they were leaving, and then a few minutes later they said they were stopping for 10 minutes... a "pause for the cause". That meant Tim Hortons to me, and sure enough that was where they stopped.

We set up a little ways farther down on Ashburn Lake Road, and they rolled through at 15:30. CN 2620, CN 6012, and IC 2723 led a very long train out of Saint John. Wendell Lemon reported they arrived in Moncton at 18:45, after a stop at McCullys to drop the empty potash cars off.

There was a little problem at the crossing. Some moron in a Dodge Ram truck had stopped on the rails, and as the train was blaring at him, he woke up and tried to back up off the tracks. Unfortunately some other moron had parked on the other tracks behind him, so they both had to move quickly before 405 was forced to try an emergency stop. Did I say "moron" enough? DON'T STOP ON THE TRACKS. Read the sign! Use your brain!

Moron finally backing up off the tracks

Thursday, January 08, 2009

NBEC/CFMG SD40 Units At Work

cfmgd aka Jean-Rafael Parent posted some more videos of former NBEC and CFMG SD40 units at work in Quebec.

Here are NBEC 6905, CFMG 6906, NBEC 6901, and CFMG 6910 leading a long train through Rimouski, Quebec at 10:27 AM on December 29.

The same power, going back home in the same day.

This train was from the next day, January 30. It had three ex-NBEC SD40s with a CN SD40 in the fourth position.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Calgary's Heritage Park

My family visited Calgary's Heritage Park back in August 2002. It is quite a place. Think of Kings Landing on steroids. I guess that's not exactly a fair comparison, since Heritage Park has several different eras represented and Kings Landing focuses on one time period, but you get the idea, I hope.

We had a good time there touring the buildings and riding the historic rides, but of course my favourite was the steam train ride. I had never seen a live steam engine before (or since, for that matter) so it was a neat experience. I had a shiny new video camera at that point and I used it to good effect to record the event.

Here it comes to mile 0 at the old station near the entrance of the park.

Next, a ride around the park. Each trip is a turn and a half around the loop. Warning: long video. :)

Finally, after I disembark the train heads out again.


I have added a new feature to my web site, a sightings database. For several years I have maintained a database of all the trains I have seen, and now it will be online for everyone to use as a reference. The first place you can see it is on the roster pages for a particular NBSR or NBEC unit. For example, look at recently-departed NBEC 4214. Near the bottom of the page is a list of all the times I have seen the engine, including its location and my comments.

Or look at NBSR 9801. Or any other roster page.

While you're there, notice the login block in the left column. This is to allow you to enter comments on the pages. Feel free to use it, or not!

In the future I hope to open the sightings database up to every sighting I have seen, and I would like to allow you to add your own sightings. Leave a comment if you're interested, or email me at Let me know what you think of this new feature.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2008 In Review

Here's a quick look back on 2008's Maritime rail events from my perspective.

New Brunswick East Coast Railway
I think the big news has to be CN's purchase of the Quebec Railway Corporation (QRC), first rumoured in June and then finalized at the beginning of November. A short line is disappearing and I expect we will see significant changes in 2009.

CN detoured over the QRC territories at the beginning of May, due to the significant flooding we experienced all over the province. I managed to see three trains (CN 122, CN 121, and CN 308)

CN ran a number of special trains in 2008, including some GM export locomotives (usually train 436) and TEST track inspection trains.

New Brunswick Southern Railway
NB Southern did not make many changes this year. They ran a number of pipe trains to support the pipeline being built from the new LNG (liquified natural gas) terminal in Saint John. I saw one pipe train. NBSR gained a new customer with the Irving wallboard plant on Bayside Drive. They also received a slug but it is not ready for service yet.

NBSR suffered a washout in September in Grand Bay, which closed their line for a day.

VIA Rail
VIA Rail had several detours during 2008, mostly due to derailments on NBEC or CFMG. There was a significant derailment in September that forced a lengthy detour of the Ocean over CN. I was able to catch it on September 14.

Personally I became a lot more involved in the Fredericton train station, becoming the president of the Fredericton Friends of the Station advocacy group.

I was pleased that my photo of CP 4563 in McAdam was in both Branchline and Canadian Rail magazines.

I did my first railfanning in Maine, albeit just in Vanceboro.

I rode the NB Southern excursion train in May.

As far as trips go, my farthest was to Amsterdam. I was in the Prairies in August and did some great railfanning. I was also in Albany, New York briefly.

Most of all, thanks for reading, and let's hope there is lots of news for 2009!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Action on the Former NBEC

Michel Boudreau caught some action in Bathurst.

Michel shot this quick video of CN 9461 shunting in Bathurst yard as train 597.

Here's Michel's video of Sunday's short train 402 coming into Bathurst, with CFMG 6903 and NBEC 1821 for power. Alcos still run!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Update on Former NBEC Units

Canadian Railway Observations noted the following units at or en route to Woodcrest, Illinois in its January 2009 issue:

1814, 1815, 1816, 1828, 1834, 1838, 1840, 1842, 1846, 1854, 1854, 1859, 1866, 4202, 4203, 4204, 4210, and 4214.

1842 and 1859 are reported to be going to the St. Thomas & Eastern Railroad, and CFQC 3000 is to be leased to the Chemin de fer Lanaudière near Joliette, Quebec.

Rumoured to still be at Campbellton, NB are 1813, 1819, 1821, 1845, 1849, 1851, 1856, 1857, 1867, 1868, and 4235.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Newcastle-Loggieville Mixed Train

I recently won two very interesting negatives off eBay. They were taken by John Denney Jr. in July 1946 in Loggieville, NB.

John Denney Jr. was a railway historian of some repute. He wrote several books, including "Trolleys of the Pennsylvania Dutch Country" (1970). There is a collection of about 1600 of his photographs in the Lancaster County Historical Society in Pennsylvania.

I was drawn to these two photos because they show a railway location that I have never seen photographed: Loggieville, NB at the end of the Loggieville subdivision.

Note the outside-braced boxcars.

The notes show the engine was CN 1002, a 4-6-0. I can't read the number on the express car on the end, unfortunately.

In the August 12, 1945 CN public timetables, there were three daily (except Sunday) mixed trains between Newcastle and Loggieville via Chatham.
CN Newcastle Chatham Loggieville Timetable August 1945

I thought you might find these interesting... I certainly do.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

No VIA In The Maritimes

VIA Press Release. There was a CN derailment "near Villeroy, Quebec" (east of Trois Rivieres, Quebec) that has interrupted all VIA Rail service east of there. The Ocean and Chaleur have been interrupted and alternate transport is being arranged. The press release says that train 614 will leave Montreal tomorrow, January 2 at 5 AM.

From the Montreal Gazette:

About 70 homes were evacuated after freight cars derailed late Wednesday night on the Canadian National railway tracks at Villeroy, halfway between Drummondville and Quebec City. Most of the 32 freight cars that jumped the tracks were empty, but one wagon struck a nearby propane reservoir, raising fears of an explosion.

The cause of the derailment is not yet known, a CN spokesperson said.

Work on the line is expected to disrupt train traffic today between Montreal and Quebec, he said.

Most residents who had been evacuated returned to their homes early Thursday morning.

No one was injured in the train derailment.

Theoretically, they could detour over MM&A and NBSR through Maine, but that is not going to happen.