Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Unexpected Stop

I was heading home from the Saint John area late this afternoon when I was told the NB Southern eastbound might be nearing Saint John. I took exit 80 to highway 102, then turned left at the intersection onto the Nerepis Road (highway 177) toward Fredericton. Within a mile I saw NBSR 9801!

One quick turn later, and I was headed back southward. I overtook the freight and decided to shoot them once at Westfield Beach. I didn't have a lot of time so I wanted to make sure I was well ahead to compose my shot. I pulled into the area by the NB Southern antenna and waited...

I quickly realized the train had stopped, so I hopped back into the van and went to investigate. The train was halfway through the underpass under highway 102, with NBSR 9801 and 2317 and about 10 cars ahead of the underpass and the other 20 or so cars on the other side. I took a few shots at 16:30.
NBSR 9801 at Westfield Beach, NB

Since I was short of time, I figured I should just head out. As I drove closer to the engine, the engineer beckoned for me to stop. I think he recognized me - I have seen him before. I pulled over and got out to talk. He said that the train suddenly slowed down, for no apparent reason. The conductor was walking the river side of the train.

The engineer asked if I would take a drive down to the other end and see if any cars were off the rails or if I could see anything unusual. I agreed and drove slowly down to the end. All the cars were on, and I checked the last crossing they had passed and there were no signs of anything dragging. I returned and reported this.

The engineer said that they had lost the air reading on the end (from the End of Train (EOT) device) but the train never dumped the air. He was wondering if they had an air hose kink and then fix itself. He thanked me for checking, and I went on my way.

A few minutes later I heard someone say "angle cock" on the scanner, so it does sound like there was a problem with the air on the train. Very curious. I hope they didn't have too much trouble finding and fixing the problem!

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