Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This Day, 14 Years Ago

Here's a Glenn Cunningham slide from 14 years ago. CP 4233 and two other C424s appear to be towing their shiny new replacements.

I count at least 7 locomotives "dead in tow" behind the three old warhorses. Are they AC4400s?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


VIA 6456 trailing on the Hudson Bay
I shared a little of the frustration of drivers everywhere, when a train blocks their passage. In my case it just blocked my view, but it was still a bit frustrating.

I went up to Wilkes Avenue at lunch to see the Hudson Bay. On my way there, I could hear the RTC giving a message to VIA 693 (the Hudson Bay) and CN 304. The Waverley Street crossing was not working, so they were instructed to stop and manually protect the crossing.

After the new BNSF engine rolled by, it was time for CN 304.

CN 304 rolled up on the south track with Dash-9 CN 2517 leading and ex-BC Rail 4644 trailing. Here they are on the CN-CP diamond at St. James Junction.
CN 2517 in Winnipeg
They slowly trundled past and came to a halt just before the Waverley crossing. Once the conductor got out, it started rolling again and I assume the conductor boarded again.

A few minutes later, as 304 was slowly going by, I was surprised to see a train coming west on the north track. Alas, it was the Hudson Bay! I caught a glimpse of the trailing engine (6456) and I believe the lead engine was 6413 from scanner conversations. No chance of photos!

New Kid in Town

BNSF 2886, Winnipeg
BNSF 2886 is the new engine for BNSF Manitoba. BNSF 2743 has apparently gone south for its inspection. I spotted BNSF 2886 pulling the transfer back to their yard at lunch today.

It is definitely lettered differently than 2743 was. For comparison, here was BNSF 2743 on September 9.

Also, it is currently running backward from 2743's normal orientation.

I wonder if it will be a long-time resident, or just a stand-in for 2743?

EDIT: Added video.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Busy Times in Winnipeg

I went up to Wilkes Avenue at noon to see the Canadian. Little did I know how busy it would be! I saw a westbound container train stopped along Wilkes Avenue, so I headed to Waverley to see the head end. Scanner traffic indicated it was CN 102, stopped on the south track to wait for VIA 1. Down by Fort Rouge, the headlight of CN 301 was visible on the north track.

The Canadian had to go by 301 on the south track, then cut over to the north track to pass CN 102. Here they are cutting over and passing me.

Its consist was engines 6401 and 6408; baggage 8605; coaches 8143 and 8125; Skyline 8501; diner 8414 Palliser; Skyline 8516; sleepers 8308 Bliss Manor, 8321 Draper Manor, 8336 Monck Manor, 8302 Abbot Manor, 8220 Chateau Papinea, 8209 Chateau Iberville; Skyline 8510; diner 8411 Imperial; sleepers 8334 Macdonald Manor, 8335 Mackenzie Manor, 8341 Thompson Manor; and 8710 Prince Albert Park.

As you can see from the video, there were a group of kids clustered around the signals. School was off today so they apparently had nothing better to do than dance around on the tracks and throw stones at the trains.

Right after VIA 1 crossed Waverley Street, CN 102 throttled up. It made quite a nice thrum as it passed me. SD75Is CN 5721 and CN 5643 provided the power for a relatively short train.

As 102 passed the kids west of Waverley Street, some of them stoned the train. I took quite a few photos of them and I will be submitting them to the CN Police.

Next, CN 301 headed west on the north track in pursuit of VIA 1. CN 2631 and CN 8817 made a good show of it. I glanced east and saw another train coming! This was another container train, with CN 2659 and CN 5686 pulling a long train. They rolled past 301 and I enjoyed the view of two trains passing right in front of me.

Amazingly, these four trains, VIA 1, CN 102, CN 301, and the other CN eastbound, all passed within 20 minutes. Winnipeg is a great train town.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dragon Boat Excursion Photos

I'm late posting these, but here are a couple of photos that David Morris took of the Dragon Boat Festival train from August 29.

NBSR 2319 and passenger train. Photo by David Morris
I love this shot! I always thought this would be a nice location for a shoot and David proved me right. I was glad to see this shot as it is a unique location for the NBSR passenger train.

NBSR 2319 at Chesley Drive. Photo by David Morris
This is a bit dark but the view is great.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gary in McAdam

Gary Lee has been filming in McAdam as usual.

This is an interesting one. NBSR 2319 and 9801 are pushing a single NBSR green boxcar, 401624. Notice the window in the top corner. I wonder what this boxcar is for?

Here's NBSR 2318 with calf / slug 008 in the McAdam yard.

This is an interesting one, with the train silhouetted against the sunset. NBSR 9801, 2318, slug 008, and 2319 were the power on September 22, 2009.

Good videos, Gary!

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Brunswick Railway Heritage Association Site Launched

New Brunswick Railway Heritage Society | French version

I am pleased to finally write about a project I have been involved in for several years. A few years ago, people from several railway-oriented attractions in New Brunswick got together to discuss how to better market the sites. The idea that arose from those meetings was to feature several "trails" linking sites together in a trail that could be visited in one or two days. A lot of work went into the preparation of these trails, and a web site was developed and has now been launched.

The site centers on an interactive map of the province, showing the trails and the many railway attractions in New Brunswick. The visitor is invited to click on the trails and attractions to learn more about them, and then move on to the individual attraction's web site, if available.

I have not been involved in the project since I moved out west, but before that I helped out setting up the basic web site and participating in the many meetings. It was a real team effort from the many railway attractions in New Brunswick. I am pleased at how well everyone worked together. I think it is important to acknowledge the great help provided by the Heritage Branch of the New Brunswick Wellness, Culture & Sports Department and the New Brunswick Tourism and Parks Department. The site bills it as a project of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association, and it is, but it involves many more players.

A couple of my photos are on the site, including the Salmon River trestle photo at the bottom of each page featuring CN train 149 on August 12, 2007

There is a Daily Gleaner article about it, featuring my good friend Art Clowes, one of the premiere railway historians in the province.

I invite you to visit the site and have a look!

A CEMR Discovery

When I was out railfanning yesterday, I saw a westbound freight on the CN Rivers subdivision that made me turn around and chase it. That train was the CEMR freight, heading to the CEMR Carman subdivision! I had not seen a CEMR train on the move before, so this was a must-see.

I drove along Wilkes Avenue and slowly overtook the train, which was doing a respectable speed on the south track of the CN main line. I came to Carman Junction, where CEMR's Carman subdivision begins, and set up there to wait for the train. They stopped, and the conductor lined the manual switch for the CEMR track at 13:17.
CEMR 4002 at Carman Junction
Here's the video of their crossing. Note the pickup screeching to a halt at 20 seconds into the video. I had a bit of debate with myself on whether to set up on this side of their track or on the sun side. The light would have been better on the sun side, but there would very likely have been cars in the shot. On this side, you get the "coming" shot of the train leaving the CN line but you get shadows. Sometimes there is no perfect spot to shoot from.

The train stopped once they were clear of Wilkes Avenue. I spoke to the conductor for a minute - a very nice fellow. I was so wrapped up in my conversation that I didn't notice the CN eastbound freight until it was right beside me - CN 8810 was leading and that's all I noticed!

I decided to head down to a private crossing on Community Row off Wilkes. I followed a truck down the (rough) road to the crossing. After we crossed, he waved me on but of course I stopped to see the train. It turns out he was another railfan. We had a good chat while we waited for the train. The CEMR freight pulled forward to bring the conductor ahead, then backed up to pick him up. I've seen this maneuver a number of times out east on the NBEC. Once that was done, they continued on their way.
CEMR 4002 by the power lines
I don't think the speed limit is very high on the Carman subdivision. This is typical of prairie branch lines!

I had to get the typical wedgie shot at 13:42 as they went through the crossing.
CEMR 4002 at a private crossing
You can see the second unit here, ANY 5232. ANY is the reporting mark for Athabasca Northern Railway, formerly owned by Cando Contracting Ltd., the owners of the CEMR. The ANY was sold back to CN in late 2007.

I would have liked to chase the train further down the Carman subdivision, but I had some family commitments I had to get to. I was glad to have the opportunity to shoot the CEMR, and I hope to do so again soon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Canadian and More

VIA's Canadian outside Winnipeg
I was looking after my son today, and after most of the morning was gone it was time to get out of the house. What to do on a beautiful, sunny day in Winnipeg? Go watch trains, of course!

I decided to go see the Canadian near CN Diamond just west of Winnipeg. We arrived just after noon, and I was surprised to see a westbound freight train (#347) stopped just west of the Perimeter highway. I guess they must have tripped the hotbox around mile 10. There was someone working on the rear of the train and they were chatting with the engine. I went up to the head end and took this shot at 12:20 just before they started to pull out.
CN 5722 at Diamond
CN 5722 and 2590 provided the power. Here's the video of them pulling out. I think I captured some pretty good engine sounds as they throttled up.

I heard on the scanner that VIA 1 had to back out of the station so they could take the south track. This made them a little late, and they finally showed up at 12:42. VIA 6451 and 6410 were providing a fair bit of smoke as they blew by us at a good clip.

The train had 6451 and 6410; baggage 8609; coaches 8100 and 8109; Skyline 8506; diner 8408 Empress; Skyline 8511; sleepers 8338 Rogers Manor, 8328 Grant Manor, 8342 Wolfe Manor, 8327 Fraser Manor, 8202 Chateau Bienville, 8217 Chateau Maisonneuve; Skyline 8505; diner 8409 Fairholme; sleepers 8326 Franklin Manor, 8329 Hearne Manor, and 8339 Sherwood Manor; and 8718 Yoho Park.

After that, we pulled up stakes and headed into town. I intended to go by BNSF to see if their rumoured new engine was there, but instead I saw a train heading west that made me turn around and chase it. I'll write about that next time!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CP 3106

CP 3106 in Winnipeg
On my way south on Kenaston Boulevard, I spotted a CP train switching just west of Kenaston. I stopped to take a few shots. CP 3106 was just finishing assembling a small train at 18:51. About 2 minutes later, they crossed Kenaston on their way north to St. James Junction and on to Rugby Yard.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

CN 102 at St. James Junction

IC 2707 on CN train 102
I saw CN 102 at St. James Junction around noon today, with IC 2707, CN 2662, and CN 5655 providing the power for a nice long train, all containers.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Scanners - Programming

Suppose you just purchased a scanner. What now? You have to program it. It's not difficult and it only takes an hour or so to get things set up right.

As I mentioned, I use a Uniden BC72XLT scanner. My comments on programming will reflect this, but I believe most scanners have a similar setup.

Scanners have a number of channels, which are each assigned a frequency to monitor. My Bearcat has 100 channels. Most scanners group these channels into "banks" to help you organize them. The Bearcat has 10 banks of 10 channels each. I have five banks set up: CN running, CN maintenance, CP running, CP maintenance, and end-of-train devices.

Programming the channels is pretty easy. You set the unit into programming mode, select the channel, and set the frequency. Simple as that!

The detail:
1. Press the Hold key.
2. Enter the channel number you want to program.
3. Press the Func key.
4. Press the E/Pgm key. Note the PGM in the top left of the display. The current frequency will be displayed, which should be 000.000 for an empty channel.
5. Type in the frequency, using the numbers and the period key.
6. Press the E key to finish.
7. You can then press E again to move to the next channel.
8. Repeat steps 5-7 as necessary.

It helps to have the channels all planned out before you start programming. That way, you can enter them one after the other.

On my Bearcat, it has "priority" channels (1 per bank) that get scanned more often than the other channels. You want to put the more interesting channels there. I have put the train channels for CN and CP in those slots, but I am thinking of changing it so the Winnipeg CN RTC is in the priority channel. I find myself listening to that channel more than any other.

The big problem with programming your scanner is: what frequencies should I monitor? That's the subject of the next post in the series.

Introduction to scanners

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Run Eight

I had some time to kill this afternoon, so I ended up cruising around looking for trains. I happened to spot BCOL 4648 sitting cold by herself in Fort Rouge yard, so I stopped and took this shot.
BCOL 4648 in Fort Rouge yard
Not much was going on, except that CN 401 and 102 were both getting ready to leave Symington Yard around 4 PM. I heard that 401 had a single engine, and was to pick up BCOL 4648 on their way west. I elected to leave the Symington area and wait for CN 401 at CN Subway off Osborne Street. While CN and CEMR crews were doing work in the yard, I waited for the train. Eventually 401 groaned into view at 16:24, with CN 5276 (an SD40-2W) pulling over 130 cars. She was really throbbing as she rolled by. Nice wave from the conductor! They came to a stop in the yard to hitch up to the Dash-9. When I left the area just after 17:00, the ex-BC Rail unit had not moved yet.

Scanners - An Introduction

Long-time readers will know that I highly recommend using a scanner when railfanning. In many cases it gives you a "heads up" that a train is coming, and in a few cases I have found a train that I would have otherwise missed.

What's a scanner? It is a radio receiver that you can program to scan certain frequencies. In my case I have it programmed to monitor railway frequencies that are used by CN and CP. The scanner rapidly loops through the channels (frequencies) you have programmed, looking for any kind of broadcast. If it finds one, it pauses there until the broadcast is complete, then it resumes scanning. You can also have it sit on one channel if there is a conversation there you want to monitor.

I use a Uniden BC72XLT scanner. It is a good basic hand-held scanner and it serves my purposes very well. The range is pretty good and it is easy to program and operate. You can't go too far wrong with Uniden.

I bought mine from Durham Radio in Ontario. You can also buy it on Amazon, or on eBay. Durham Radio is listing it for $129.95, Amazon says $77.76 with free shipping, and eBay averages around $80.

The only feature I wish it had was labels, so I could look at the scanner and have a description of the channel. It just shows the channel number. I printed out a little list of what the channels are, and taped it to the scanner so I can refer to it.

In my next post about scanners, I will talk about how to set up your scanner.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday Freight

I shot the BNSF transfer freight on Friday as it crossed Waverley Street on its way to CN's Fort Rouge yard. You may recall I saw the westbound version on September 9. I wanted to catch this version because I wanted to see the caboose leading the way.

I heard BNSF calling the CN RTC to get permission to enter the Rivers subdivision. While this was happening, a CP high-railer truck came north on the La Riviere subdivision and dismounted at Wilkes Avenue.

Once BNSF received permission to enter the mainline, I went to Waverley and waited by the side of the road for the transfer to come. Before too long the lights of the caboose became visible, the gates came down, and BN 12580 led four cars and BNSF 2743 past my lenses.
BN 12580 Leading the Way

BNSF 2743

I didn't hang around for the return trip but I understand they had 2 cars to bring back.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fredericton Train Station Refurbishment Details

The Fredericton train station will be refurbished, and leased out for 20 years to NB Liquor.

"The train station area will house a wine boutique and product sampling counter, with a food preparation area and room for specialty product displays," said Dana Clendenning, president and CEO of Alcool NB Liquor. The products, checkouts, cold room, warehouse and offices will be located in the new structure, and each will be open to the other."

Fredericton Train Station Artists Rendering
The long freight shed on the rear of the station will be removed and a new, blocky building will be built to hold the main retail store. A parking lot will be built to the north of the station (where the old bottling depot was).

The artists rendering appears to be from the perspective of someone standing on York Street just north ("left") of the station.

The station will be connected to the existing trail system (finally). Work will commence shortly to prepare the station for the winter, and I imagine the first thing to go will be the roof. I'm told engineers were in the building today.

This is great news for the station, for Fredericton and for heritage people everywhere. Maybe the Heritage Canada Foundation can finally take the station off their 10 Most Endangered Places list!

NB Liquor announcement, CBC article, Charles Leblanc, Tim Scammell

CN 121

Dave and Matt went a-chasing trains recently on the Napadogan and Pelletier subdivisions in New Brunswick. Here are a few of their excellent videos.

They shot CN 121 at Ennishore first. This is Matt's video.

Next, Matt's view of CN 305 heading west over the massive Salmon River trestle near New Denmark, NB.

Here's Dave's view of CN 121 heading west on the Pelletier subdivision out of Edmundston, NB.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Late Canadian Today

VIA 6427 in Winnipeg
VIA's Canadian was a bit late today. BNSF Manitoba had enough time to zip over to Fort Rouge with 20 cars, pick up 10 cars, and return before VIA arrived on the scene at St. James Junction.

Kokanee Park on the VIA Canadian train

The complete consist:
Engines VIA 6427, 6404
Baggage VIA 8606
Coaches VIA 8106, 8119
Skyline VIA 8515
Diner VIA 8410 Frontenac
Skyline VIA 8502
Sleepers VIA 8340 Stuart Manor, VIA 8330 Hunter Manor, VIA 8314 Cameron Manor, VIA 8318 Craig Manor, VIA 8229 Chateau Viger, VIA 8212 Chateau Latour, VIA 8224 Chateau Roberval, VIA 8207 Chateau Dollard, VIA 8215 Chateau Lemoyne
Skyline VIA 8504
Diner VIA 8402 Alexandra
Sleepers VIA 8324 Dunsmuir Manor, VIA 8310 Brock Manor, VIA 8309 Brant Manor, VIA 8707 Kokanee Park

CP Units at the Scrapper Update

I took a quick look Wednesday afternoon at the CP units being scrapped in Winnipeg off Chevrier Boulevard. These are the units:

5753 and 5398 were actively being scrapped. 5398's prime mover was still aboard but 5753's was gone. By this evening, 5398's engine was gone too.

Next to be scrapped:
SOO 4203
SOO 4201
CP 1551
CP 1504
CP 1558
SOO 4202
SOO 4204
CP 1556

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fredericton Station Update

Fredericton Railway Station. Photo by Art Clowes
The station on June 28, 1978. Photo by Art Clowes.

There is a reception and press conference scheduled for Friday September 18 to discuss the details of the York Street train station refurbishment. I received my invitation, but it's a bit too much of a commute! The press conference starts at 10 AM at the Centennial Building on King Street in Fredericton.

Truck-Train Collision in Winnipeg Tuesday

A truck ran into a CEMR train on the Perimeter Highway just northeast of Winnipeg Tuesday around 4 PM. The Winnipeg Sun reported that a semi (transport truck to you Easterners) went around four stopped cars and plowed into the train as it was crossing the highway. The crossing lights were working but there are no barriers at that crossing. I doubt barriers would have made much difference in this situation.

CEMR 4000 was on the train, and from the Winnipeg Sun photos, it looks like the train struck the train between 4000 and the first freight car. It looks like there was some damage to 4000.

The driver was extricated from the cab and taken to hospital, and was reported to be in stable condition. The train crew was not injured.

The CEMR train was heading south on the Pine Falls subdivision. I had heard CEMR 4000 on the scanner on Monday around noon as they headed south on the Carman subdivision.

The Winnipeg Free Press and the CBC both had brief stories about the accident.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Three Oceans, One Weekend

David Morris sent along photos of the three Ocean trainsets from the last weekend in August. Too bad it was so rainy. The Moncton one is especially noteworthy because it features newly refurbished VIA 6402. Note the hump at the back of the engine for the new generator. This provides standby power to the train so they do not have to run the main engine at full power at the station.

2009/08/29 VIA 14, Sackville


2009/08/29 VIA 15, Amherst


2009/08/30 VIA 14, Moncton


Monday, September 14, 2009

CP TEC Train on Great Sandhills Railway Tuesday

CP's TEC train in New Brunswick, July 29, 2008. Photo by David Morris.

The CP TEC (Track Evaluation C?) train will be running over the Great Sandhills Railway in Saskatchewan tomorrow (Tuesday September 15). It should leave Swift Current between 07:00 and 07:30 and proceed to Leader by mid afternoon, then on to Burstall to tie up for the night.

The Great Sandhills Railway operates on the former Burstall and Empress subdivisions.

Today's Late Canadian

VIA 1, the Canadian, was a bit late leaving Winnipeg today. They apparently had to make a stop at the VIA Maintenance Center to fix one car. I heard them switching on the scanner, and I was very curious what was going on. Another railfan stopped by and mentioned the reason for the delay.

In due time VIA 6410 and 6451 brought the 19 cars past.
VIA 6410 in Winnipeg
The light was really nice today.

Here's YOHO PARK rolling over the diamond at St. James Junction.
VIA Yoho Park

The complete consist:
VIA 6410
VIA 6451
VIA 8609
VIA 8100
VIA 8109
VIA 8506 Skyline
VIA 8408 Empress
VIA 8511 Skyline
VIA 8338 Rogers Manor
VIA 8328 Grant Manor
VIA 8342 Wolfe Manor
VIA 8223 Chateau Rigaud
VIA 8325 Elgin Manor
VIA 8208 Chateau Dollier
VIA 8202 Chateau Bienville
VIA 8505 Skyline
VIA 8409 Fairholme
VIA 8326 Franklin Manor
VIA 8329 Hearne Manor
VIA 8339 Sherwood Manor
VIA 8718 Yoho Park

This is the seventh Canadian I have seen in Winnipeg since I moved here. Not bad! (Complete list)

CEMR 4012 and 4013

I mentioned that I saw CEMR 4013 at the CEMR shops a week ago. Geoff Sockett sent me a photo he took of CEMR 4013 and 4012 in Hantsport, Nova Scotia back on snowy January 16, 2006.
CEMR 4012 and 4013 in Hantsport Nova Scotia. Photo by Geoff Sockett
They were working the gypsum train at that time, I see.

CEMR's units 4011-4014 were built for CN as GP9s, numbered 4594, 4597, 4494 and 4567 respectively. They were rebuilt to GP9RM specifications with chopped noses and 1800 horsepower, and renumbered to 4011/4008/4013/4001.

CEMR sent 4011 through 4014 to the Windsor & Hantsport Railway in Nova Scotia in the summer of 2005. 4012 and 4014 came first, followed by 4011. 4013 was the last to arrive, in late August. They displaced the ex-CP MLW RS-23s that were working on the W&H.

4013 had a major failure on April 11, 2008 that wrecked the engine and main generator. 4012 was still operational in June 2008 but suffered a main generator failure soon afterward.

CEMR 4012 and 4013 left the Windsor & Hantsport Railway on March 5, 2009. They were in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for a day or two, then arrived in Toronto on March 13. They finally arrived in Winnipeg on March 21. I do not know the present condition of the units.

Thanks for the photo, Geoff!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

CN 2258 East

CN 2258 near Winnipeg
On my way back from the Prairie Dog Central, I caught CN 2258 East just before they were to pass under the Perimeter Highway on their way into Winnipeg at 15:30. CN 2621 was the second unit.
CN 2258 near Winnipeg
Shortly before that, I heard VIA 1 (the Canadian) announce they had a clear signal at Diamond (a few km west of this shot) at 15:20. That means the Canadian was about 3 hours late leaving Winnipeg!


New Brunswick, like most provinces, has a series of highway cameras set up around the province for people to view to see local conditions. Errol Robertson sent me this snap he took from the Welsford highway camera.

The regular eastbound freight was on time on September 9 at 13:12. Note slug 008 in second position. Good catch, Errol!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Steam Engine Maintenance

Prairie Dog Central Steam Engine #3
I volunteered today at the Prairie Dog Central railway. I had emailed earlier this week to say I was available, and I was asked to help wipe down their steam engine #3. I arrived this morning at 9 AM sharp and reported to their steam engine guru, Bob Harris.

My job, along with veteran Ziggy, was to wipe the engine down with varsol to clean it up. I put my coveralls, safety goggles and rubber gloves on, and got to work! The job basically consisted of wiping the engine with Varsol (a solvent), then doing a "dry wipe" with a cloth, then another wipe with Varsol and some oil to give it a shine. That's my pail and gloves on the engine in the photo above. I did the first wipe and some of the dry wiping, and Ziggy did the oil wipe. It took about four hours, and a lot of climbing, to get the job done but I think it looks a lot better now. The bell in particular was filthy, being just behind the stack. I also washed the windows in the cab.

After that, we did a water test to see the quality of water in the boiler. The intent of this is to see what additives, if any, need to be added to bring the water into specification. The water has to be pretty "basic" (opposite of acidic), not have too many dissolved solids, and have enough sulfides in it to absorb the oxygen in the water so it doesn't corrode the boiler system. There is so much to learn about steam engines!

We wrapped up around 2 PM. I decided to head out and take a few shots of the returning excursion train before heading home. I shot it three times before it reached Inkster Junction. Here's the video...

Thanks to everyone at PDC for showing me around. I look forward to volunteering again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fredericton Train Station To Be Restored

Big news... BIG news. NB Liquor makes tracks to station. Yes, the Fredericton train station is going to be restored, by the NB Liquor Corporation.

I confess that I had given up on the idea of the train station being restored. In my time as president of the Fredericton Friends of the Railway [Station] I championed the cause, but within the last year I had lost hope. I fully expected to read sometime in the next few years that the station was gone.

Maybe I should have moved out west sooner? ;)

You should follow Tim Scammell, former and current president of the FFoTR, for news on the station. And, of course, Charles Leblanc!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

BNSF Transfer

I was at Sobeys on Grant Avenue yesterday at lunch and I noticed BNSF 2743 at the Fort Rouge Yard. I shot a quick video behind Sobeys as 2743, one freight car, and the caboose rolled west to their yard.

The area there is wide open but the sun is on the wrong side of the tracks. Too bad.

I think I am starting to understand their schedule. They head over to Fort Rouge around 11:30 to noon to interchange with CN. They usually wait for VIA to go by (either the Canadian or the Hudson Bay roll by just after noon) then return to their yard afterward.

On my way back I shot this photo of BNSF 2743 putting their one freight car away, just to get the engineer's side of the locomotive.
BNSF 2743 in Winnipeg

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

New Rail Line in Maine?

CBC news is reporting that the city of Eastport, Maine is applying for federal funding to rebuild a railway line from Eastport to the Canadian border at Calais.

The Maine Central Railway abandoned the Eastport branch line in 1978. I understand the state railbanked a portion of the old Calais branch, but the portion from Ayers Junction to Eastport was totally removed.

There is an engineering study posted on the Eastport Port Authority web site. Zipping to the bottom line, we find the costs estimated to be between $26 million and $44 million, depending on what level of track is deemed to be required.

All I can say is "good luck".

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Slides for Sale

This shot was taken on this day, 11 years ago in 1998, by a David T. Stowe in Bathurst, NB.
NBEC 1866 in Bathurst. Slide by David T. Stowe

I recently purchased a few slides from Tim Howerter. He has a large collection of original slides for sale. There are a variety of railways represented, including CN, CP, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and a large switcher collection. His prices are quite reasonable and so is the shipping.

I purchased about a dozen slides featuring MLW power on CP and CN.

Here is his sales listing from Railbid. His email address is dozermand6 a t (Replace a t with the @ sign)

Here is my updated list of original train slides for sale. The link below will take you directly to all of the folders with all slides for sale.

Directions on how to view:
- Either click on the link to go directly to my library of folders (if your computer allows this)
- Or copy and paste link into your URL address bar at the top of your home page.

To open folders: click on the folder. It will open with all the slides in that particular folder. Double click on the slide(so) you want to view and they will pop up in a much larger size for viewing. Continue onto each folder like this and take a look at everything I have. There is a very nice selection of locomotive rosters and action shots.

Link For Slides:

There were many slides added to the switchers folders and others. Please take some time and view what I have for sale. All slides are originals, no duplicates. All slides were scanned at a low resolution, hence the fair quality of the scans. All slides have info, dates and location on slide mounts. The words you see on the scans do not appear on the slide itself. Email me back the folder name and the slides(file) numbers back to me of the ones you want to purchase.

All action slides of trains are $1.50 each. All locomotive roster shots are $2.00 each

Slides are shipped First class mail and cost is $1.25 for the first 5 slides, $.50 for each additional 5 slides purchased.

I will accept cash, check or money order, or you may use paypal, but will have to pay the fee I am charged for accepting paypal payments which is 3%, + $.30 of total amount due(shipping costs included). I am sorry I have to charge this but if I do not this adds up to a large loss for me.

Hope to hear from you!

Today's Hudson Bay, and One From Yesteryear

The northbound Hudson Bay was on time on a rainy day in Winnipeg today.
engines VIA 6458, 6413
baggage VIA 8601
coaches VIA 8113, VIA 8132
diner VIA 8418 York
sleeper VIA 8216 Chateau Levis

I stumbled across an extract from "Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take": Railway Journeys by William D. Middleton that contains a description of the author's journey aboard the Hudson Bay in August 1998. You can read it here. The entire Hudson Bay article is present and can be read online. In 1998 the train had two FP9s for power, instead of the usual one or two F40PH-2s nowadays. The train itself was pretty much the same as it is today, with one baggage car, two coaches, diner ANNAPOLIS, and sleepers CHATEAU VIGER and HUNTER MANOR.

1919 Canadian National Railways Timetable Uploaded

Art Clowes provided a scan of the Canadian National Railways October 5, 1919 public timetable for me to upload to my web site.

Thanks, Art! link

Monday, September 07, 2009

Two Rebuilt Engines

David Chiasson posted a really nice video of Sunday's VIA 14 rolling over the Nepisiguit River. This had two rebuilt VIA engines on the head end, 6400 and 6402. You can tell 6402 is the second engine by the little hump on the back.

This is a great example of a great video. Well lit, good composition, great subject, and no 30 second lead-ins. Well done.

CN Test Train in the Maritimes

Various people on the AtlanticRails and RailsNB mailing lists have reported a CN test train in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. CN 2517 and the two test cars, operating as train 482, worked the Dartmouth subdivision yesterday.

The test train, operating as train 912 today, went from Moncton down to Saint John and back.

Hopefully someone will get some good photos of old 2517 and the two blue test cars.

EDIT: here's a video from "John" aka cn8800!

Busy Day in Winnipeg, Part 2

Shortly after my last post, I spotted a westbound in the distance on the north track. Soon enough, CP 115 came rolling by at 17:00 with CP 8504 and 9810 on the head end, and CP 9783 midway through the train.

I kept an eye on the crossing arm after the train went by, and sure enough it was bouncing. The arm had gone up as normal, but it kept oscillating about 30 degrees from vertical back to vertical for about a minute. I called the CP number on the crossing to report it and they took the details down and said a maintainer would be dispatched.

With no more trains due to arrive for a while, we headed out. I drove around North Transcona for a bit and went up Risque Avenue (love that name) to the CEMR shops. I took a few shots through the fence. I saw CEMR GP9s 4010, 4013, 4001, 4002, ex-CP 5396 and snowplow CEMR 2.
CEMR 4013 in Winnipeg

Ex CP 5396 in Winnipeg

We headed down south after that. Rolling past Symington Yard again revealed humpyard set CN 7511, CN 501, CN 504 and CN 7528 hard at work. I spotted a northbound train coming off the Sprague Subdivision but I was in no position to take a good photograph. The train had CN 2537, CN 5667, and CN 5661 for power.

That was a much better way to spend the afternoon than sitting at home!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Busy Day in Winnipeg

My wife was working today, so I was home with the kids. At about 3 PM it was obvious that I needed to get out of the house to preserve my sanity, so I bundled the kids into the van and took off for Slurpees and trains.

First we rolled up Fermor Avenue then Plessis Road past CN's Symington Yard. There wasn't much going on there. As I continued up Plessis Road I saw an eastbound freight rolling toward Symington Yard. I took a left onto Dugald Road, hoping to get to Symington's entrance before the train. Alas, the traffic lights were against me and I didn't quite make it. However, I did see that a westbound was waiting for the eastbound to get into the yard. I went up Warman Road to the end and waited for the train to pass. Once it passed at 16:00, CN 2261 and 2626 boomed a deep bass as the engineer throttled up for the long trip eastward.

The kids were clamoring for their Slurpees, so we hit a nearby 7-11 and took care of that. Then we headed north into CP territory. I randomly chose Day Street as a good place to watch the CP mainline action from, forgetting that it led right to the CEMR shops. Bonus! Within a few minutes of arriving there, a short eastbound rolled by at 16:44. The lead unit was CP 3014, but the nice surprise was the trailing unit, B unit CP 6078. I last saw this unit in Sintaluta, SK on June 25, 2009.

Right after the train passed, a black Suburban pulled up and a uniformed police officer beckoned me over. He asked if I had noticed if the crossing arm had bounced after the train went past, and I said I hadn't noticed. He said he had no problem with me being there, but not to walk the tracks. I of course agreed (safety first when railfanning!) and off he went. I should have checked to see if he was CP Police or Winnipeg Police. Doesn't matter, I wasn't doing anything wrong. :)

To be continued...

The Slug in Maine

A friend shot NB Southern's new slug 008 in Mattawamkeag, Maine on Saturday. He very kindly allowed me to post a few photos here. He got a really good shot of 008!
NB Southern slug 008 in Maine.

NB Southern Railway 9801 West in Mattawamkeag, Maine.

NB Southern Railway 9801 West in Mattawamkeag, Maine.