Monday, August 31, 2009

Volunteering at the Prairie Dog, Part 1

I went to the Prairie Dog Central Railway to volunteer on Sunday. I didn't really know what I would be doing, but I was told the best thing to do was to show up and see. I arrived at about 09:30 and talked with a few of the volunteers.

I was introduced to the conductor, Jeff, and he told me the train was full and the best place for me would be in the combination car. PCD's train has five passenger cars and one combination passenger-baggage car. I sat in the baggage section with Jeff's daughter and another girl. The train departed on time at 11:00 for Grosse Isle and Warren. This trip was powered by their steam engine, #3.

On the way to Grosse Isle, the train was stopped by Bonnie & Clyde's gang! Four gun-toting miscreants boarded the combination car and proceeded through the train, looting the passengers (for charity) and then making their escape in their bullet-riddled 1930s roadster. Shortly afterward the Marshal's car roared by, siren blaring. I think the passengers enjoyed the train robbery.
Bonnie and Clyde Train Robbery on the Prairie Dog Central
Bonnie and Clyde Train Robbery on the Prairie Dog Central
Bonnie and Clyde Train Robbery on the Prairie Dog Central

At Grosse Isle the train stops for about 45 minutes so everyone can disembark and visit the local vendors and use the washrooms. Bonnie & Clyde were there for photographs with the passengers.
Bonnie and Clyde Train Robbery on the Prairie Dog Central

Because the wye at Warren is filled with cars (stored for income), the engine was turned at Warren. I was fortunate to ride in the engine as they went around the wye. This was my first time in a live steam engine and it was quite interesting. There are a lot of things to keep track of!
Prairie Dog Central #3 Gauges
I was glad it was not a particularly warm day - it must get hot in there. I was amazed at the 56 lb rail on the wye.
Prairie Dog Central #3
After the passengers boarded, we headed for Warren.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday on CN

I was out and about on Saturday afternoon with my son, and I decided to wander over to CN's Symington Yard to see what was going on. As I rolled east across the top of the yard, I saw a container train heading east parallel to me. I figured I could get ahead of it, and I did. I set up just east of the Perimeter Highway to watch it come across the Red River Floodway. In good time CN train 114 with CN 2230 and 5735 rolled over the bridge with a lot of container cars behind them at 16:15.

That was my first railfanning on the Reddit Subdivision, CN's mainline to the east of Winnipeg.

I went down the east side of Symington Yard and saw another container train ready to depart south on the Sprague subdivision. I went down to CN Navin and waited. A CN maintainer showed up to give the train a runby inspection, and soon enough CN 198 rolled slowly by at 16:45 with CN 2649 and 2650 for power. Funny to see two consecutive engine numbers.

That was it for Saturday for me!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Two Videos From Yesterday

Here are the two trains I saw yesterday, in video.

First, "Smokin' Aces" aka the Canadian.

Then, the long BNSF transfer train with BNSF 2743 and caboose on point.

The Slug

Brian Barchard sent along a very nice photo of NB Southern Railway's new slug 008. Click on it for a larger version.

He also sent a few shots of the New Brunswick Day train.
NBSR Passenger Train. Photo by Brian Barchard

Pan Am Railway cars in Harvey. Photo by Brian Barchard.

NBSR 2317 and Pan Am Railway passenger cars. Photo by Brian Barchard

Thanks for sharing, Brian!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Local Gang

Tonight my young son and I went to Gooch's Bicycle & Hobby Shop in downtown Winnipeg to check out the model train stuff, but mostly to meet local railfan Devin and other local fans. I met up with Devin and his daughter, and my son made friends with everyone and really admired the N scale portable layout they have in the back. It was a good time.

The highlight of the evening was meeting Morgan Turney, editor of the Canadian Railway Modeler magazine, as well as Suzanne Lemon, editor of the new Railfan Canada magazine (I reviewed it here). Nice meeting you both and I hope to see you again soon!

Today's Canadian and BNSF Local

Two trains for the price of one!

The Canadian was right on time today. This time they apparently came from downtown on the south track, then switched to the north track near St. James Junction (CN-CP-BNSF interchange). When I saw them they were just threading their way over to the north track. Once on the north track, the engineer opened it right up and 6410 and 6451 were smoking like Alcos!
VIA 6410 smoking
The complete consist was:
engines VIA 6410, 6451;
baggage 8609;
coaches 8117, 8100, 8109, 8506; diner 8408 EMPRESS;
Skyline 8511;
Skyline 8505;
diner 8409 FAIRHOLME;
VIA Yoho Park
Immediately afterward, the headlight of BNSF 2743 was visible to the east as they pulled a long string of grain cars from Fort Rouge into the BNSF yard.
BNSF 2743, Winnipeg
I took video and managed to get a decent side shot of 2743 this time. The track in the foreground is CN's north track. They are coming off the north track onto the BNSF transfer track at the junction.
BNSF 2743

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Today's CN 314

I was driving up Bishop Grandin at noon when I heard CN 314 and the RTC having a discussion about how they would come into Symington Yard. The voice from 314 was very strong, indicating the train was close. I figured I would either arrive just in time or would just miss the head end. Luckily it was the former... I ended up shooting this out of the driver's window after screeching to a halt and rolling the window down.

They had 120 cars, mostly tank cars. CN 8021 was the second unit.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today's Hudson Bay

The Hudson Bay was a little late today, but it eventually showed up with two units and a whopping five cars.
VIA 6456 and the Hudson Bay
The train had engines 6456 and 6458, baggage car 8601, coaches 8113 and 8132, diner York and sleeper Chateau Levis. A passenger in the sleeper waved as he went by.

Looks like they will have beautiful weather for their trip, finally.
VIA Rail's Hudson Bay train

Monday, August 24, 2009

CP Local

After 8 days in a row of seeing and photographing trains, I took a break on Sunday. But I was back at it again today.

As I mentioned before, I saw a CP local this afternoon. It was waiting to cross Kenaston Boulevard on the La Riviere subdivision just before 5 PM. CP 3120 and CP 1532 were the engines and they had about 8-9 tank cars behind them.
CP 3120 in Winnipeg
Both 3120 and 1532 are old friends. I saw 3120 twice in Portage la Prairie, on July 27 2004 and also on December 27 2007. I've seen 1532 doing odd jobs in Winnipeg twice in the last 6 years.

NB Southern Slug On The Road

I was going to post about the CP local I saw today, but this is a lot more interesting. Brian Barchard sent me an email this afternoon about the NBSR road freight he saw on Saturday. The eastbound freight had NBSR 2318 leading, with NB Southern's slug as the second unit, and a 980x unit third. The train had 67 cars and passed Harvey Lake at 17:51.
NB Southern 2318 and Slug. Photo by Brian Barchard.
I like the composition with the kids on the pier. As Brian says, the sun is problematic at that time of day.

Brian notes that NBSR seems to be running about 3 trains a week in each direction these days.

It looks like the slug has at least the side yellow reflective stripe on. I can't tell if it has a number or "NB Southern" on the side.

Wanna Sleep in an Engine?

I've heard of sleeping in a caboose (done it many times) but in an engine? Well, that is what the Izaak Walton Inn will be offering, a chance to sleep in a refurbished Great Northern F45 locomotive. They are gutting the engine compartment and installing luxury accommodations. The loco cab will be retained so you can sit in the engineers' seat while enjoying your breakfast and watching the BNSF traffic roll by. At $299/night, accommodations are a bit steep but hey, it's an engine!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Brunswick Day Photos

David Morris sent me a few photos that he took during the New Brunswick Day festivities.

The first shows the train running by Harvey Lake on its way to McAdam.

Next, the train arrives at McAdam.

Finally, a shot at St. Croix during one of the excursions.

Don't forget Dave Dineen's NB Southern Excursion Video!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Herzog Cars

This morning I was approaching Elie, Manitoba from the west when I heard a chirp on the scanner from a nearby end-of-train (EOT) device. The EOT sends little data chirps to the engine, and vice versa, on occasion and you can pick that up on a scanner. Hearing that chirp means there is a train nearby.

I pulled off to cross the tracks near a little elevator just west of Elie. As I crossed the two tracks I saw a train far to the east. It turned out to be CN 303 just pulling out of Elie. There were some rather interesting cars behind CN 2301 and 8859!

You may recall I reported on a Herzog ballast train in the east back in July.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Two Trains From Lunch

I went up to Wilkes Avenue to shoot trains this lunch hour, and I was very fortunate.

First up was CN 786, an eastbound potash train with former BC Rail 4618, CN 2401, and CN 2275 for power. The first two are Dash 8s and the last is an ES44DC.

Note the aircraft appearing to fly into the top of the engine.

I went over to see the BNSF yard, missing the chance to shoot a westbound freight with CN 5711 and CN 8801. Oh well.

My third train was CN 101, a hot container train rolling out of town. This one had more conventional power, CN 2273, CN 5648, and CN 2637.

While 101 was rolling by, two railfans pulled up and I introduced myself. They were two brothers, coming to watch the CN action.

Once 101 was done, my time was up so I headed out.

Malcolm Peacock

I was very sorry to read of the passing of Malcolm Peacock (obituary). Malcolm was a long time volunteer at the New Brunswick Railway Museum and lent his skills as an electrician and general handyman to a variety of tasks. The obituary describes Malcolm as "stubborn and steadfast, quiet and proud of country and kin" and I think that is a good description. Malcolm was quiet but friendly, held strong to his beliefs, and didn't suffer fools. He was kind enough to let me stay in his caboose at the museum a few times when I was visiting there. He kept it in great condition and was very proud of it.

I considered him a friend and I will miss him.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Today's CN Trains

When I left Winnipeg early this morning, I crossed over CN 115 as it was rolling along Wilkes Avenue. It was really rocketing but I slowly gained on it, and after Elie I pulled over and took this quick video. IC 2462 was the middle unit, I think.

As it approached Portage la Prairie, I heard them talking with a train in Portage. 115 got to Portage just before me, so I waited at the Highway 1A crossing, until I saw an eastbound rolling out. I moved a bit and took this video of "thumper" the lead engine. Quite a sound it was making!

The crew were not very pleased with the lead engine. Just a few minutes after I took the video, I heard them call the RTC to report that the lead engine had died due to a ground fault relay. They had called the "diesel doc" to see what they could do to restart it. In the meantime, they would continue to limp along.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Slow Mover

CP 3090, Winnipeg
I was rolling along the Perimeter Highway again today around noon, and I saw a headlight to the north on CP's La Riviere subdivision. I pulled off the road and set up to wait for the train to come. It took longer than I thought it would, but finally CP 3090 showed up pulling a little train. 3090 was poking along at just a bit faster than walking speed!

I guess the speed limit at that location is 10 MPH!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A New Find

CEMR 4001 at Agrico
I was driving on the Perimeter Highway on my way home after work late this afternoon. Suddenly I spied something to the right, on the CEMR line... an engine! I quickly pulled into Agrico at Oak Bluff. The engine and a caboose were on their siding. I went into the office and asked if I could please photograph the train. They agreed as long as I was quick, since they were closing up. I zipped down and took a few shots!
Caboose CCGX 20001
The gentleman inside said that CEMR was having a traveling barbecue to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
CEMR 4001
I was glad to finally photograph a CEMR engine. Thanks again to the folks at Agrico for their cooperation.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Today's Canadian, and Bonuses

My lunchtime trip to see the Canadian yielded a bonus, even with the rain. VIA 1 was on time again today, with a 22 car train.
VIA 6410 and the Canadian in Winnipeg
VIA 6410 and 6451; baggage 8609; diner YORK; coaches 8112, 8117, 8100, 8109; Skyline 8506; diner EMPRESS; Skyline 8511; Carleton Manor; Stuart Manor; Rogers Manor; Elgin Manor; Chateau Closse; Grant Manor; Wolfe Manor; Skyline 8505; diner Fairholme; Franklin Manor; Hearne Manor; Sherwood Manor; Waterton Park.

As the Canadian rolled by, I saw two sets of headlights off to the east. It turned out that the first was the BNSF engine 2743, caboose, and a train of about a dozen cars. They took the switch east of the junction to pull into their yard. I was too far away to get any decent pictures. It was odd that 2743 did not have ditch lights on; perhaps it doesn't have any.

The second set of lights turned out to be a long CN container train. After a few minutes, it started pursuing the Canadian on the north track. The train had CN 2552, 5693 and 5703 for power.
CN 2552 in Winnipeg Manitoba

Not bad!

Finally the Hudson Bay

As I mentioned, we were waiting on Sunday for the Hudson Bay to arrive. It was rather late, and the rain was coming and going. Finally, on one of my periodic checks of the east-facing lights, I saw a green light indicating something coming. The Hudson Bay finally did show up, almost an hour late at 13:15.

It was a bit anticlimactic, given that there was the single engine VIA 6458, baggage 8600, coach 812?, diner Annapolis, and sleeper Chateau Lemoyne. That's right, 4 cars!

All too quickly, it was gone, and so were we.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Freight In The Rain

I decided to go see what was happening on the CN mainline aka the Rivers subdivision. Mostly I was looking for VIA's Hudson Bay but I would take what I could get!

We pulled off the Perimeter Highway onto Wilkes Avenue just after noon. I headed east into the city, and very quickly saw a set of headlights coming my way. I took the next left and parked on the side of the road, and knocked the tripod together as quickly as I could. The freight was upon us at 12:10.

The train had CN 5601, IC 2460 and CN 2519, plus a LOT of containers.

After that, I decided to head west on Wilkes until I neared Diamond, where the CP line crosses the CN Rivers subdivision. We parked on the road to Headingley and broke out lunch. It was actually not that long before another westbound freight came along at 12:38. CN 8836 and 8849 provided the motive power.

Those SD70M-2s have a different sounding horn!

So it was 12:40 and still no Hudson Bay... wonder where it was? To be continued...

CN 343 Video

Here's my video of yesterday's CN 343 arriving in Winnipeg.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Symington Yard Today

I took the kids out for some errands, and I decided to go see what was up at CN's Symington Yard here in Winnipeg. The weather was pretty overcast and it eventually started to rain.

First, I saw CN 7522 and 7521, with slugs 501 and 511, pushing cars up the hump in Symington Yard in Winnipeg.

The second hump yard set had CN 7528 and 7511 with two slugs between them.

While I watched, CN 2552 and 5693 pulled up. Later scanner traffic would indicate this was CN 314.

I went down to Navin Road (CN Navin) to await CN 314's departure. After listening to the scanner traffic, I determined they were still assembling their train. However, I heard CN 343 calling in to ask where they were going to yard their train. Soon enough they rolled very slowly by with CN 2630 and 2675 pulling a very long manifest train.

Midway through taping that train, the skies opened up and it started to rain heavily. We gave up on the train watching and headed home. Not a bad afternoon for a rainy day!

Friday, August 14, 2009

You Win Some, You Lose Some

On Thursday I headed out at noon to shoot the westbound Canadian as I have done twice before. I was a few minutes early, so I thought I would try to get a "bonus" and see the BNSF engine just across the road. I drove up to their facility, and I lucked out and saw BNSF 2743 and caboose BNSF 12580 rolling along through the yard. The sun was against me but I took the shot anyway. I'm not sure I've ever seen a GP30 GP39-2 before.

I headed back to the south side of the CN tracks to get the Canadian. Alas, I was sitting at the light waiting to turn left onto Wilkes when I saw stainless steel rolling by. There was no way to catch up so I missed my shot. I guess I was too greedy trying to shoot the BNSF engine. All I can say about the Canadian's consist was that the Telus unit VIA 6429 was leading.

I left work at 16:30 and headed down Chevrier Boulevard toward Pembina. As I crossed the CN line to the U.S. I saw a train just north of me. Bonus! I parked and ran back to shoot this little video of CN 7251 and slug CN 275 crossing Chevrier.

There were two crew riding on the front of 7251. CN 275 looks very shiny and freshly painted.

They stopped just south of Chevrier to switch into the industrial trackage there. I shot a few more photos of them before heading on my way home.
CN 7251 and slug 275 in Winnipeg

It's true - you win some, you lose some. I lost the Canadian but I won the BNSF unit and a bonus CN engine and slug. I think I came out ahead.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Little Vandals

Check out David Chiasson's video of a group of kids vandalizing a VIA Rail train.

First they spray paint on the baggage car and a coach or two, then they throw rocks at it.

(shaking my head)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

NB Southern Excursion Rides

NB Southern excursion train near Welsford, 2007/05/27
The NB Southern excursion train near Welsford, NB on May 27, 2007

NB Southern is taking its shiny refurbished passenger cars out for more public excursions. The Telegraph Journal is reporting that NBSR will run trains for the Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday August 29 from Harbour Station to Renforth just south of Rothesay. This is new territory for the NBSR cars!

The trains are planned to leave Harbour Station at 8:30, 10:00, and 11:30, with returns from Renforth at Renforth at 1:30, 3:00 and 4:30. It sounds like there will be deadhead trips back in between. Lots of opportunities for photos and video! Tickets are $10.00 each; call (506) 632-5595.

The annual UNICEF train run will occur on Friday September 25 from McAdam to Saint Stephen and back. No times or costs available yet. To purchase a ticket, please contact William (BILL) Young in St. Stephen NB at 506-466-4557 (home number, so suggest you call in the evening).

This is a slow trip so bring a good book and some snacks!

Thanks to Bob and Danny for the news.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Carlisle Station Vandalized

Bernard Babin reports that VIA's New Carlisle train station was vandalized over the weekend. Apparently the criminals did a number on the station, smashing windows, fax machines, computers, printers, trash cans, everything. I met the station master Dominique both times I chased the Chaleur and she takes her job and her station very seriously. I can't imagine how she feels. I hope the criminals are brought to justice. There is absolutely no need for this.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Today's Canadian

Like clockwork, I shot today's westbound Canadian at noon. I'm really liking the convenience of this! I can leave work at noon, shoot the train, and be back by 12:30. Awesome.
VIA 6401 and 6431 lead the Canadian through Winnipeg
The consist was Spiderman 6401, 6431, baggage 8613, coaches 8122, 8129, 8119, Skyline 8515, diner Kent, Skyline 8502, Jarvis Manor, Hunter Manor, Cameron Manor, Craig Manor, Chateau Roberval, Chateau Dollard, Skyline 8504, diner Alexandra, Dunsmuir Manor, Allan Manor, Brant Manor, Kokanee Park (21 cars).
VIA's Kokanee Park car
The lettering on Chateau Roberval is very strange... I wonder what was going on there. I also noticed the word "Skyline" was in mixed case on one car and all capitals on another.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Friday's Ocean

David Morris sent me these two photos of the eastbound Ocean, VIA 14, leaving Moncton late at 13:30. Refurbished VIA 6402 was the leader.
VIA 14 at Moncton. Photo by David Morris
The consist was 6402-6442, baggage 7011, coaches 7228-7230-7227, service 7312, diner 7402, service 7308, sleepers 7518-7517-7509, 7501-7525-7512, transition 7601, EVANGELINE PARK

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Avro Lancaster Came to Winnipeg

Avro Lancaster at the Western Canada Aviation Museum
OK, let's leave trains for a moment and talk about planes. I used to be a big plane fan (second only to my fascination for all things naval) and one of my favourite planes was the old Avro Lancaster bomber. The Lancaster was one of the most important Allied bombers in WW2. 7,377 were built, delivering 608,612 tons of bombs in 156,000 sorties. Sadly 3,249 planes were lost in action, just over 44%. The life of a bomber crewman was short.
Avro Lancaster at the Western Canada Aviation Museum
One of the only two flying Lancasters in the world, B X FM213 the "Mynarski Memorial Lancaster", owned by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, came to Winnipeg earlier this week. It landed at the airport Monday around 3 PM and parked at the Western Canada Aviation Museum. I took my kids down to see it, and after waiting in line for quite some time, we were able to walk around and see the outside. There was another line to go in, and my kids' patience was already worn thin so we did not try to get in.
Avro Lancaster at the Western Canada Aviation Museum
There were quite a few people around. My kids seemed pretty impressed by the plane. The tires on the plane are taller than they are!
Avro Lancaster at the Western Canada Aviation Museum

There are several videos of the landing on YouTube but I think this is the best.

I was glad to be able to see the old Lanc!