Saturday, February 28, 2009

New Train Numbers

Former train 587 on the Nepisiguit Subdivision

I'm told that the train numbers on the former NBEC and CFMG territories are going to change. The new trains are rumoured to be:

L56011 Rivière-du-Loup - L'Isle Verte switcher 08h30
L56111 Mont-Joli switcher 17h30
L56211 Mont-Joli - Matane 11h00
L56311 Campbellton - Dalhousie switcher 07h00
L56411 Campbellton - Gaspè 00h01
L56511 Bathurst - Brunswick Mines (daily except Friday - Saturday) 20h00
L56611 Bathurst - Gloucester Jct?? (daily except Saturday) 14h00
L56711 Bathurst local (Monday - Friday) 07h30
L56811 Miramichi switcher 14h00

The times given are the "on duty" times. All trains daily except where noted.

To map to the old NBEC train numbers:
Train 590 -> 563 (time essentially the same)
Train 586 -> 565 (later than before)
Train 587 -> 566 (later than before)
Train 597 -> 567 (time essentially the same)
Train 580 -> 568 (same time)

I'm going to guess that train 566 is actually the Bathurst - Belledune turn.

I understand trains 402 and 403 will retain their numbers.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Export Train Update

CN 316 finally left Moncton at 16:15 for Halifax.

How To Subscribe

If you read this blog and would like to get notification of new posts by email, here's how!

Enter your email address:

If you prefer a link, you can subscribe to Confessions of a Train Geek by Email.

Personally I use an RSS reader to verify my posts are coming out.
Subscribe in a reader

Thanks for reading!

Export Train Update

Wendell Lemon reported that the export train was at IRSI in Moncton at 07:25 this morning, picking up 6 more export locomotives to take to Halifax. They could be away by 9 AM.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Export Train Progress

Ron Pelletier is reporting that the export train was called from Montreal at 08:25 this morning, and called a clear signal at Fortier (west of Joffre) at 12:30 today. The RTC is going to hold him at Laurier siding for a while to clear cars from St. Apolinaire.

Given that it takes about 6 hours to go from Joffre to Edmundston, and another 6 from Edmundston to Moncton, one might expect the train to be in Moncton by the wee hours of Friday morning.

Export Locomotives Through On Friday?

Ronald Pelletier reported that a CN train 316 was called at 19:45 last night in Toronto to take the export locomotives to Halifax. CN 6027 was the lead engine. They are expected in Joffre, Quebec on Thursday. Depending on when they get into Joffre, they could come through New Brunswick in daylight on Friday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NBEC 402/403 Update

Saturday morning's CN/NBEC freight through Rimouski, Quebec had a little different power on it. SD40 units CN 5245 and 5241 powered a relatively short freight. The CN SD40 units were sidelined in favour of the NBEC/CFMG SD40s, but apparently the CN units are back.

It looks like Sunday's 402/403 was back to the former NBEC/CFMG power with CFMG 6906, CFMG 6902 and NBEC 6901 providing the muscle.

Thanks to NBEC69 for the videos!

NBEC Update

Michel Boudreau sent an update on the CN/NBEC situation around Bathurst.

The power for the ore train (586/587) is CN 9452, NBEC 1868 and NBEC 1821. NBEC 1851 is the local switcher.

Tuesday's train 403 was pulled by CN 9562 and a CFMG SD40.

I wonder how much is going to change on or about March 1, as the transition to CN's management (from a customer perspective) should be complete.

Here's a video from Michel showing CN 9452, NBEC 1821 and NBEC 1849 with the empty ore train returning from Belledune on February 7.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Saturday's Train on Video

Here is Saturday's NBSR eastbound train on video. It had 68 cars, not too shabby!

Snow Throwing

While I was blowing the 40 cm or so of snow out of my driveway Monday, NBSRFan was chasing the NB Southern Jordan spreader. Here is his great video of the spreader at various spots along the McAdam subdivision. I especially like the overhead shot at Westfield Beach - fantastic.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Export Locomotives On The Way

Fifteen EMD export locomotives destined for Egypt (plus one for France) will be passing through in the near future. This video shows them rolling through Guelph, Ontario fresh from the factory on Sunday.

Word has it they will probably pass through New Brunswick on Tuesday or Wednesday. They will pick up the six export locos that have been stored at IRSI in Moncton and then proceed to Halifax to be loaded onto a ship.

Junk Power

Matt aka Saintjohnrailfan recorded a CN 406 with "junk" power on the head end on February 21 in Rothesay. By junk power he means a collection of old units normally used for switching and not for mainline freights. In this case it was CN 4773, CN 7010 and CN 4708, two GP38 units with a GP9 in the middle.

Presumably CN was running short on mainline power (C44-9W, SD75, etc) and had to scramble to find units to pull the train.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mail Problem

If anyone with an NBNet or Sympatico (NB) account has been trying to email me, I haven't been receiving them. There is something wrong with the NBNet server that is preventing them from sending mail to I am working with them to figure it out.

In the meantime, you can always comment here. :)

Chaleur in Halifax

Apparently sometime Wednesday night there was a problem with the Renaissance consist on the combined Ocean-Chaleur west of Charny. The Chaleur passengers were bussed from Matapedia, while the Ocean passengers proceeded to their destinations east of Matapedia in the Chaleur cars on Thursday. Make sense? :)

Friday's VIA 14 had VIA 6403, 6405 and 6429 with some deadhead cars and another locomotive for VIA 15 that would be left in Moncton.

Friday's VIA 15 was a set of silver Budd cars rather than the expected Renaissance cars. As it happens, it struck a pickup truck near Rogersville around 18:35. Fortunately noone was hurt but the train was delayed for over an hour and a half.

That VIA 15 with the Chaleur equipment had VIA 6432 and VIA 6427 leading baggage car 8619, coach 8103, Skyline 8509, and sleepers Chateau Denonville (8206) and Chateau Roberval (8224) through Windsor Junction.
VIA 15 at Windsor Junction. Photo by David Othen
Photo by David Othen.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

NB Southern Eastbound Today

Since it was such a beautiful day today, I decided to chase the NB Southern Railway freight. I intended to see the train at McAdam and then have lunch in McAdam. But you know what happens to the best-laid plans...

I had intelligence that the train was due to arrive in McAdam at or shortly after noon. I left my house at 11:27 (late) and as I entered McAdam I heard an EOT squawk on the scanner. I crested the hill in McAdam and saw a train rolling east through the highway 4 crossing at 12:27. Drat!!!!

I turned around and headed back to Harvey. I arrived there after about 20 minutes and decided to set up east of the highway crossing. My kids jumped around in the back of the van while I listened to the sound of the train's horns echo in the distance. At 12:58 NBSR 9802 East rolled through the crossing with 9802, 2319, 2317 and 2610 pulling a fairly long train.

Within a few minutes, they were gone, and then we finally had our lunch.

Alco Fever

I miss the MLW units. I miss the smoke and noise they make. Just to remind myself of them, I uploaded a couple of videos of NBEC RS-18s working in Miramichi.

Here are NBEC 1854 and 1819 working in Miramichi on August 5, 2004. First they push a centerbeam flat into the port area, then they run light through the yard.

This one has NBEC 1866 and 1867 smokin' it up in the Miramichi yard on October 7, 2004.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Two Videos From July 2004

I uploaded two videos from July of 2004. The first shows CN 701 rolling through Burnside, NS on July 7, 2004 on its way back to Dartmouth with a load of gypsum. CN 5694 and CN 5626 provided the power. It's a short video because I had left my video camera on by accident, and the batteries died while I was taping this train.

The second (from July 11) is a cab ride in Salem & Hillsborough 8245 as it rolls through the lovely countryside of Hillsborough, NB. This was the last year of operation. I was the head end brakeman on this excursion trip. While the unit is rolling there is not much for the brakeman to do besides keep an eye out. Taping from 8245 was good because there was no short hood to get in the way.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Prairie Dog Central

I have uploaded some videos of the Prairie Dog Central Railway. I blogged about them before.

On board the train:

They do a runaround move at the end of the line:

Finally, I was in the cab while they turned the engine on the wye by Inkster Boulevard.

On YouTube, I found a nice, long video from G1Trains of the PDC, with the steam engine running:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chaleur Through The Tunnel

Chris uploaded a video of the Chaleur going through the tunnel at Port Daniel, Quebec, from the dome. Very nice! I like the lighting changes as the train goes in, through, and out of the tunnel.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saint John Friday

I did manage to see a few trains while I was in Saint John on Friday. As I was heading to the West Branch Library, I heard the CN 405 crew talk about the transfer freight [coming over from Dever Road]. At 14:08 I found them in behind Moosehead, having just left the yard. I pulled into a parking lot off Mill Street and took this still before shooting video with my Canon S3.

After my presentation, I headed back toward McAllister Place. Right after I turned the scanner on, I heard CN 405 get a highball, so I figured there was no chance I would see them. I saw NBSR 9803 and 2612 parked at the west end of Island Yard, in the siding at 16:33.

I passed Island Yard and saw quite a collection of locomotives there. CN 7010 and CN 4132 were together, as were CN 7038 and NBSR 2610. On the scanner I heard the yard master ask CN 405 if they were heading out soon, as they "had the yard corked up." 405 said they were heading out in 3 minutes.

I found them at the usual spot by Tim Hortons. CN 5774 and 5746 were providing the power for a long train. I did not stay to tape them but I did take a few shots. I was trying to be artistic with this shot, as the sun was not in a good spot for photos as usual.

I heard CN 7060 was out and about in Saint John, so that was the third leased CN GP9.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Presentation

I had a great time giving my presentation today in Saint John. The staff at the West Branch Library were great. They made sure Gary and I had everything we needed. There were about 40 people there, and they were a great crowd.

Gary Hughes went first with his presentation on railway roundhouses. I advanced the slides while he gave his talk. It was fascinating! He talked about the early roundhouses and the different styles of roundhouses. Some like the E&NA roundhouse in Saint John had an interior turntable, and most in North America had the more familiar external turntable. He also showed some cruciform (cross-shaped) roundhouses, which I had never seen before.

Then it was my turn. I was a little nervous at first but I forgot about that soon enough. I think my talk was well received, based on the comments I heard afterward. One lady told me that although she was hard of hearing and didn't hear all of what I said, she figured it was funny because of all the people laughing around her!

I met a lady who had ridden the old Shore Line between Musquash and St. George, and another who took the train to school in Shippagan on the former Caraquet & Gulf Shore Railway. I was pleased to meet Abel Bastarache, one of the founders of the Salem & Hillsborough Railway. Quite a fellow.

Thanks should definitely go to the Saint John Society of Model Railroaders for setting up a great model train display.

I want to give a shout out to the several people who told me they read my blog - I was pleased to meet you and I'm sorry I don't remember all of your names. It was a bit of a whirlwind. :)

I did see and photograph a few trains in Saint John but I'll post about those tomorrow.

If anyone would like me to give a talk on New Brunswick railways, please let me know at I will do my best to make it work.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rail Grinder on the Newcastle Subdivision

Rail grinder RG309 has been working on the Newcastle Subdivision, aka the former NBEC territory. It left Campbellton Tuesday at 12:15 heading east, and made it to Jacquet River before reversing to park in the siding at Charlo at 21:00 for the night. Thanks to Nicolas Kiss for that sighting.

Michel Robichaud noticed the grinder in Bathurst at 15:40 this afternoon.

Thanks for the sightings!

Heritage Tea in Saint John

On this coming Friday, February 13, I will be giving a talk about the history of trains in New Brunswick at the West Branch of the Saint John Library. Gary Hughes, curator of History & Technology at the New Brunswick Museum, will talk about railway round houses and sheds. The tea starts at 2:30 PM, and light refreshments will be served. It should last about an hour and my talk should be about 15-20 minutes. All are welcome. The West Branch is in the back of the Lancaster Mall.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CFMG Layoffs

According to this article, CN will be laying off 5 employees of the former Quebec Railway Corporation on April 30. All of the layoffs appear to be from the accounting and marketing sections in Mont-Joli. The five who will be laid off will receive severance as per CN standards. Two others agreed to be relocated, one in Quebec and one to Moncton. The 30 other employees on the operations side will retain their jobs... for now.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Napadogan Memories

I received a very interesting message from a Ms. Ellie Hutchinson a while ago. She lived in Napadogan in the 1940s and 1950s and saw my post about Napadogan. She graciously provided some snapshots that I am sharing with you. I find this stuff fascinating!

According to Ellie, there was a water tower, coal facility and crew house in Napadogan, all on the east side of the roundhouse and the north side of the tracks. The water reservoir for the steam engines was north of the roundhouse on the existing road. The station itself was west of the roundhouse.

None of this shows on the 1985 CN track plan for Napadogan.

Just for trivia's sake, I looked at the September 25, 1955 CN public timetable and there was a 10-minute scheduled stop in Napadogan for passenger train 51/52, a three-times weekly train between Moncton and Edmundston. It looks like train 51 and 52 met at Napadogan, actually.

If anyone has any more details on Napadogan, please pass them along and I will post them.

The station building in Napadogan.

Baby Ellie in front of the Napadogan roundhouse, 1948.

The camp car in Napadogan. Note the nicely tended gardens in front. Ellie's father is leaning in the doorway. 1950s.

Ellie's Nan Colwell and her brother-in-law pose in Napadogan, 1930s.

Ellie's grandfather Colwell stands on the steps of a passenger car, 1930.

Snow clearing in Napadogan.

Snow clearing in Napadogan. I wonder what that building to the left was?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

NBEC Update

Michel Boudreau reports that Bathurst is back in red with RS-18s.

The yard power is NBEC 1851, and the ore train is powered by 1868, 1821 and 1849.

CN 9452 was on the ore train for a few days, while 1868 was away for servicing.

CFMG 6906 and 6907 were the power on train 403 today (Sunday).

Michel passed along this photo of 1849 from a few days ago. Note the faded patches on the unit.

I wonder if these were parts taken from other units.

All photos by Michel Boudreau.

CFQC 3000 Sold

SFQC 3000 and NBEC 1840 in Miramichi
Stephane Royer from Quebec informed me that CFQC 3000, formerly leased to Bell-Gaz in Saint-Félix-de-Valois, has been purchased by them. Their railway is the Chemin de fer Lanaudiere, reporting marks CFL (Go Riders!). The CFL had one locomotive, CFL 114, an MLW S-13.

Stephane has some nice photos of Ottawa Central locomotives and others... check them out!

Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad Back?

Chop Hardenbergh reported in his newsletter that the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad (BML) may soon be running again. The article in the Bangor Daily News says the Brooks Preservation Society has signed a four-year lease with the state of Maine for the rail corridor between Waldo and Burnham Junction. The article says the Brooks Preservation Society "recently purchased B&ML diesel locomotives Nos. 50 and 53, along with two coaches and an open air car". They also have plans to operate velocipede runs, and possibly freight traffic.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Windsor & Hantsport Woes

The Windsor & Hantsport Railway (Windsor, NS to Windsor Junction, NS) has had its share of troubles recently.

On the morning of February 2 they had a locomotive (CEMR 4011) derail just east of the East Uniacke crossing, on the way to Windsor Junction. They used the second engine (RLK 4004) to rerail 4011. They were bringing 4 empty grain cars to Windsor Junction, and were to pick up some loads from CN there. Apparently after rerailing 4011, they backed up all the way back to Windsor.

Late in the morning of February 4, they sent a plough (55360) and ballast regulator (with two engines pushing) to clear the ice from the line. This was to allow the following freight train to finally get to Windsor Junction. Apparently the plow derailed (twice) around the same place that 4011 did.

On February 5 they used a bulldozer and the ballast regulator to clear 5 miles of track. There were 18 loaded cars at Windsor Junction waiting for them. I assume they have picked them up by now.

Quite a struggle!

EDIT: The track was cleared by Sunday February 8, and a train left Windsor at 07:45 with 6 empty cars to go to Windsor Junction.

NBSR 9802 Through Harvey

Brian Barchard shot the eastbound train in Harvey that I saw in Welsford on Wednesday. NBSR 9802 East blew through at 13:50 in the falling snow.

It took 1 hour and 25 minutes to go from Harvey to Welsford - a little slower than normal.

Friday, February 06, 2009

NBSR Jordan Spreader in Action?

NBSR 402896 at Brownville Junction. Photo by Michael Peverett.

I understand the NB Southern Jordan spreader should be clearing the Dever Road yard tomorrow in Saint John. Apparently it is quite clogged with snow and ice and needs a little clearing.

Vertical Video

I was in Saint John on Thursday. On my way I saw CN 5746 and 2591 sitting in Island Yard at 10 AM. Later, while enjoying the lunch lasagna at Vito's, I saw CN 7010 and rare (to Saint John) CN 4138 shunting along Rothesay Avenue.

We finished our lunch and headed back to the plant. As we were about to turn, I saw NBSR 2610 and CN 7038 shunting the Irving Wallboard plant. The pair was half sticking out of the building itself! I had been wondering where the centerbeam flat empties were, and now I know - they are being loaded inside the building.

I raced to get my camera then hurried up the stairs to the roof of the building. 10 floors is a long way! When I got to the top, I saw the engines were backing onto a string of loaded cars. I noted they had a tank car right behind the engine, presumably from the nearby Irving Paper facility.

I shot some stills and then took video as they crossed Bayside Drive on their way out.

I'm glad I was able to be in the right place to get the shots. It's too bad the sun was against me but you work with what you have! :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

NB Southern Sighting

I was traveling north through Welsford this afternoon at 15:15. I remarked to the driver of the vehicle that the NB Southern train normally comes through Welsford around this time, when we saw the highway crossing lights turn on behind us. NBSR 9802 East came rolling through with 2317 helping pull a long train through the snow. The train had a lot of empty centerbeam flats on it.

It would have made a nice photo at the crossing with the train plowing through the new snow. Oh well, sometimes it's just nice to watch.

Monday, February 02, 2009

NBEC Alco Update

NBEC 1819 at the head of train 586 in Bathurst, January 31, 2009. Photo by Michel Boudreau.

Michel Boudreau reported yesterday the following power around Bathurst:

Train 597 (Bathurst shunter): NBEC 1813
Train 586/587 (Belledune-Nepisiguit ore train): NBEC 1849, NBEC 1821, NBEC 1819
Train 402/403 (mainline freight): CFMG 6903 and CFMG 6908

Apparently the CN GP40s are off the ore train because they do not have dynamic brakes, very useful when bringing loaded ore cars down the Nepisiguit Subdivision.

Thanks for the update, Michel!