Monday, November 30, 2009

CP 1831

Following on to my post about CP 8800, Brian Barchard supplied a shot of CP 1831 (the rebuilt CP 8800) leading a freight past the Beaverbrook Rink in Fredericton, NB in the morning of May 23, 1987.
CP 1831 in Fredericton, by Brian Barchard
The train is coming off the "main" line from Fredericton Junction and going on to the line that crossed the train bridge to Devon. To the right is the track to the York Street station. This location was known as Una Junction.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

CN Detours

CN is running some trains over the former NBEC / CFMG properties, rather than the normal Edmundston-Moncton (NTR) route. They are doing this because the engineers are not on strike on the northern route, since they are in a different union that is not on strike.

As of 5 PM Atlantic on Sunday, this appears to be what was happening in the Maritimes:

CN 308 (very long) in Campbellton, departing 21:00 or 22:00
CN 121 departed Campbellton 16:00
CN 305 arriving in Campbellton in the evening
CN 120 used the NTR route this morning
CN 308 (another one) should be next eastbound through Campbellton
CN 408 arrived Dartmouth just after noon
CN 407 departing Dartmouth for Moncton 16:50

The challenge with using the northern (ICR) route is that speeds are slower and there are no long passing sidings. Meets between long freights have to take place in yards. On the plus side (for CN) they use actual engineers rather than CN managers to drive the trains.

VIA is running on time in the Maritimes at present.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

CP 8800

CP 8800 in Fredericton, 1981/08/29

Today's slide is a well-lit shot of MLW RS-18 CP 8800 in Fredericton, New Brunswick on August 29, 1981.

CP 8800 was built in July 1958 as the last number in the MLW RS-18 series for CP. As part of CP's RS18 rebuild program in the 1980s, it was rebuilt in 1985 and became CP 1831. Apparently something happened to it in the mid 1990s, as it was shown stored unserviceable in the 1997 Trackside Guide and it was retired on March 20, 1997 and scrapped.

There's a nice photo of CP 1831 on Railpictures, leading a train through Quebec in 1993.

CN Strike is On

The CBC is reporting that the CN Engineer's strike is underway. I assume trains are being run by management personnel. Keep in mind the conductors are not on strike. Also, the former NBEC / CFMG / etc. properties are not on strike as they belong to a different union.

Let's hope the strike is settled quickly.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ready For This?

CP in Portage la Prairie, December 27 2007
CP 9700 in Portage la Prairie, MB, December 27 2007

Snow is forecast for Tuesday. And so it begins.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Three Railways Out Of Four

Here are videos of three of the four railways I saw on Tuesday.

First, the Hudson Bay.

Next, the CN local with slug 266 leading.

Finally, CP 1128 and 3028 going north on the La Riviere subdivision.

CN Engineers' Strike?

CN 5519 at Deersdale, NB
CN 5519 leads train 308 at Deersdale, NB, August 3, 2007

The CBC is reporting that CN's 1700 engineers may go on strike as early as ths coming Saturday. They have not had a contract in a year and apparently are nowhere close to coming to an agreement. Hopefully the issues can be resolved in the next few days and the strike can be avoided.

EDIT: This article mentions a meeting with federal mediators to be held on Friday. Also, this article talks about up to 140 Winnipeg engineers "bracing" for the strike.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Four Railways, Fifteen Minutes

I went up to Wilkes at noon today to see the Hudson Bay. I decided to shoot from next to the Kenaston overpass. While waiting for VIA to roll along, I noted a CN local switching the former intermodal yard on the west side of Kenaston. They were pulling about a dozen cars out of there onto the south track.

Soon enough the Hudson Bay came into view and rolled along in the lovely sunlight at 12:15.
VIA 6458 and the Hudson Bay

The train had two engines (6458 and 6456), baggage 8600, coaches 8110 and 8120, diner York and sleeper Chateau Levis.

Here's the Hudson Bay passing the CN local, which was running slug forward.
VIA Hudson Bay and CN slug

The CN local rolled by right after that, with slug 266 leading and mother 7269 trailing at 12:17. Note the crewman on the slug. The mother-calf units are equipped for remote operation.
CN slug 266 in Winnipeg

During this maneuver, I had been hearing horns from the south, meaning CP was on the La Riviere subdivision. I drove down Wilkes to the CP crossing and there was CP 1128 coming north to cross the diamond at 12:24.
CP 1128
As you can see, the problem with shooting CP here is that you are shooting toward the sun. CP 3028 was trailing with 48 freight cars.

Finally, BNSF decided it was time to head over to Fort Rouge, so I shot BNSF 2001 from a distance at 12:30 before leaving the area.
BNSF 2001, Winnipeg

Four railways in 15 minutes. This is why Winnipeg, and especially the St. James Junction area, is a great railway hotspot.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Typical Monday

I ventured out at noon to shoot the Canadian today. It was making good time. I shot it at Waverley Street from a distance. I wasn't expecting it for another couple of minutes!
VIA Canadian in Winnipeg
The consist was 6408, 6419, 8605, 8137, 8516, Palliser, Chateau Marquette, Monck Manor, Blair Manor, Mackenzie Manor, Prince Albert Park

About 10 minutes after VIA 1 passed, BNSF 2001 rolled out of Fort Rouge with their transfer train and headed back to their yard off Taylor Street with about 25 cars, mostly ADM tank cars.
BNSF 2001, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Randy Marseles Steam Photos

"Brian" has put a bunch of Randy Marseles steam engine photos up on the web, specifically Canadian Pacific steam engines in Ontario. Check them out if you're into steam!

He also has a bunch of Randy's photos of other roads' steam at the main site.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A CN Meet

On Tuesday I went up to Wilkes Avenue to see if I could catch the Hudson Bay. I was a little late, and VIA was not, so I missed it. However, I did see a CN freight slowly approaching from the east. Apparently there was a signal problem just east of St. James Junction, and the train was required to proceed at cautionary speed. CN 5705 and old warhorse CN 2418 eventually rolled by with a long stack train.

I'm not sure why I call CN 2418 an old warhorse. It was built in 1990, for Pete's sake.

After about half of the train was past, I noticed headlights to the west. CN 198 was approaching on the south track with another stack train. Train 198 is a hotshot train from Prince Rupert, BC. CN 5748 and CN 2580 were the power. You can see it banging over the CN-CP diamond.

The head end of 198 passed the last container in the westbound freight just west of the diamond. If only 198 had been 15 seconds earlier... oh well.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CEMR You Later

I had some errands to run on Monday (Nov 16) in Winnipeg, so I arranged things to be able to see the Canadian leave. It's getting a little sad now that the once-proud summer Canadian, usually 20+ cars in length, has been reduced to a train shorter than the Ocean.

Anyway, I went to shoot it on Wilkes Avenue. I saw the tail end of the CEMR freight leaving CN's Rivers subdivision and heading south on the CEMR Carman subdivision. I decided to wait for the Canadian and hopefully I would see CEMR before I had to go. The Canadian was a bit late.

The consist: 6440, 6425,8604, 8116, 8509, Frontenac, Chateau Iberville, Bliss Manor, Laird Manor, Hearne Manor, Banff Park.

A quick drive south on the Perimeter found ANY 5232 and CEMR 4000 just about to cross the highway to switch the industries at Oak Bluff. I didn't get to the crossing before the lights came on, so I had to shoot them from the non-sun side. Never race a train!

I went on my way after that and did my errands. On my way back to the office, I looked and saw that the CEMR freight had just finished its switching and was continuing south on the Carman subdivision. I went a couple of minutes out of my way to shoot them across a field. True Prairie branchline railroading!

Off they went, and so did I.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Union Pacific Videos

Here are the videos from last week's visit (part 1, part 2) to the Union Pacific in Maricopa, Arizona.

First, UP 8045 West... a general merchandise train.

UP 7380 West followed it.

Next, a UP stack train overtaking a ballast train.

Finally, another UP stack train.

I shot the ballast train too, but it was against the sun so it's not so great.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NB Southern Units at Hudson Bay Railway

NBSR 3744, 3788, test unit 2001
NBSR 3744 and 3788 with test unit 2001 in Saint John">

Geoff Sockett alerted me that there are still a few ex-NB Southern GP9s kicking around. The Hudson Bay Railway bought a few when they were retired by NBSR. Ex-NBSR 3764, 3787 and 3788 are dead and being used for parts. Surprisingly, ex-NBSR 3757 is alive and pulling, painted in Omnitrax colours. This is a photo of OSSX 3757.

NB Southern had eight ex-Southern Pacific GP9 units: 3735, 3744, 3757, 3760, 3764, 3787, 3788, and 3795. All of them were disposed of in 2001.

Earlier this fall I posted about NBSR 3735 being scrapped in 2003.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

BNSF in Phoenix 2009/11/11

BNSF in Phoenix Arizona
I saw these units shortly after noon in the BNSF Mobest yard in Phoenix, Arizona. In the photo: BNSF 7397, BNSF 2945, BNSF 2958, BNSF 2853, and BNSF 2836.

Also in the yard: BNSF 4541, BNSF 656 (ex Santa Fe), and BNSF 7419.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Down to UP, Part 2

In my last post, I said I was waiting for UP 5003 East to get moving and roll through Maricopa, Arizona. I was scouting for new locations on the east side of Maricopa when I stumbled across a ballast train stopped in the Arizona Grain siding. UP 4898 and 9735 were at the head of about 15 or so green UP cars. It seemed they were waiting to go east too, but obviously the stack train had priority.
UP 4898 in Maricopa, AZ
UP 5003 finally did get to go at 13:59.
UP 5003 in Maricopa, AZ
Unfortunately for the ballast train, another stack train came rolling along at 14:22 before they could get out of the siding. UP 8665, 4594 were on the head end and UP 8418, 7432 were trailing.
UP 8665 in Maricopa, Arizona
I chased the train a bit, but they were too fast to catch up to. They were doing around 50 MPH and soon enough the speed limit on the highway went to 30. I did get a tail end shot.
UP 7432, Maricopa, AZ
The ballast train finally got out at 14:43 and that was the last train for quite a while. The maintenance of way forces moved in and started doing track work, so I knew it was time for lunch. I waited around a while afterward but nothing showed up, so once the sun was down, I headed north back to Phoenix.

I have video for all of these trains, but I have no way to process it here, so it will have to wait until at least the weekend. Link to videos

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Down to UP, Part 1

I had some time Thursday afternoon, so I decided to head south to Maricopa, Arizona to see the Union Pacific mainline. I figured there might be a few trains there... and I was not disappointed.

When I arrived at the Amtrak depot, I saw the Silver Horizon, a former California Zephyr passenger car. It is looking a little worse for wear but it is still an attractive car.
Silver Horizon car in Maricopa, AZ

I could see that Union Pacific was putting in a second track in Maricopa. The two tracks end just west of Maricopa and UP is double-tracking their entire 760-mile "Sunset Route" between Los Angeles and El Paso. Incidentally, UP has a neat factsheet about their presence in Arizona.

Anyway, back to the trains. I saw an eastbound stack train pull up to the end of the double track and stop. I drove over and saw that UP 5003, 4357, and 9810 were the power on the head end. They had their headlights dimmed, so I figured there must be a westbound coming soon. I went a little west of Maricopa to try to catch it. It was hot waiting for the train!

At 13:17 it came, with UP 8045, 4186, and 7838 on the head end of a manifest train, and dirty UP 4449 and UP 7877 pushing on the end.
UP 8045, Maricopa, Arizona

The eastbound still didn't move, meaning another westbound train was coming. I picked another location, and at 13:35 I shot UP 7380, 4263, 8606 leading another manifest train.
UP 7380, Maricopa, Arizona
UP 5490 was pushing on the end.
UP 5490 pushing in Maricopa, Arizona
After that train passed, I repositioned again to get the eastbound... but I found another train first. To be continued...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dartmouth Model Train Show This Weekend

I received this note about the Dartmouth Model Train Show (in the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia) and I thought I would pass it along. It's always a good show and I encourage you to attend if you are in the area. I missed it by a week so I won't be there... I hope to be relaxing at home. :)

"The annual Sportsplex Model Train Show is on this weekend, Saturday Nov 14 from 9am to 4:30pm and Sunday Nov 15 from 10am to 3pm.

On display will be the Dartmouth Club and U.M.G. HO scale layouts, Mike's G scale layout, Errol's Z scale layout , A small G-Scale layout by Joz., Marc's O-27 Lionel U-drive layout and the very popular LEGO layout and a robotics display. Of course, a wide selection of vendors will offer new and used items.

Door prize this year is a nice Athearn train set courtesy Maritime Hobbies and Crafts.

Admittance: Adults $5, Kids 5-12 $2, Family $10, kids under 5 free. Hope to see you there!"

We Remember

"We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of
traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for Canada. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument."
- Heather Robertson, A Terrible Beauty, The Art of Canada at War.

My hearts and thoughts go out to those who served, and those who serve today, especially those putting their lives in peril in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Local Switcher

I went for a drive up the BNSF Phoenix subdivision Monday evening, for something to do. Grand Avenue parallels the tracks for quite some distance. I came to Surprise, AZ and noted the Ennis subdivision crossing Grand Avenue, as well as a large autorack facility with a local switcher!

I pulled off Grand Avenue just after that, and noted a headlight approaching from the northwest at 18:40. I slapped the video camera on the tripod and took some video in the dark. As usual it is blurry. The manifest train had BNSF 746 and two other engines on the head end, and BNSF 7212 pushing on the rear.

I went back to shoot the local switcher from across the highway. The above is the best one I took. Apparently this is a GP7.

"Aeromoe" has an excellent web page on the BNSF Phoenix subdivision with an astonishing amount of detail. I wish I had found this sooner!

This Day, 19 Years Ago

CP 5405, SOO 6616 and CP 4701 in London. Slide by David T Stowe
This was quite a lashup. Shiny CP 5405 was on the point, with worn SOO 6616 in the middle and MLW M-636 CP 4701 trailing. Note the lack of a multimark on 5405, compared to the "Pacman" on 4701. I always liked the white SOO paint scheme. The slide was taken in London, Ontario by David T Stowe.

CP 5405 was an SD40 built as QNSL 209 for the Quebec, North Shore & Labrador railway in 1971. She was leased to CP in 1983 and purchased in 1985. This photo shows her in September 1987 with a multimark, so sometime between then and November 1990 she was repainted and lost the multimark. CP Roster.

SOO 6616 was built in March 1981 as an SD40-2. Sometime between 1986 and 1991, she was repainted into a different scheme, the red SOO scheme with white stripes (see here). As of 2003 she was still operating.

CP 4701 was built in 1969 by the Montreal Locomotive Works (MLW) and was an M-636.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Acadian Railway Update?

Some of you may remember the proposed Acadian Railway, to run across the Acadian Peninsula in New Brunswick following a similar route to the old CN Caraquet subdivision. There was a flurry of news articles in 2007 but not much has happened in the past few years.

A new industry for Caraquet, announced this month, may change that. Peter Swire, promoter of the Acadian Railway, is also the president of the GreenSafe Demanufacturing plant. CBC is reporting that construction should start by the end of November 2009 and the plant should be up and running by the end of 2010. The plant will take old appliances and recover all of the components, including the refrigerant.

The tie-in to the proposed Acadian Railway is that the plant is anticipated to receive at least 40 truckloads of appliances per day. The alternative to this is to construct a railway to bring those items in, and presumably ship the recovered components out.

Peter sent me a copy of the press release last week. I should point out that CBC got the funding amount wrong by a factor of 1,000... the private investor has put $50 million into the project, not $50,000. Press release (PDF).

EDIT: Peter pointed out that the plant is to be built in Caraquet, not Tracadie as I originally posted. Thanks for the correction.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

BNSF in Phoenix

BNSF 2843 in Phoenix
I'm in Phoenix, Arizona this week, and I had a little time this afternoon / evening to have a look around. Bill Linley kindly gave me the October 2009 Railroads Illustrated magazine that featured an article on BNSF in Phoenix - very timely!

I went looking for their Mobest yard in Phoenix just south of I-10. I drove around for quite a bit, following various bits of track, before I stumbled across it in the rapidly falling dark. It is not very accessible for photography but I did what I could to identify the units there. There were about 8 or 9 Geeps there plus a couple of pairs of road units.
BNSF Mobest Yard Sign in Phoenix
I positively identified these units: BNSF 2843, BNSF 2648, BNSF 2829, BNSF 2945, BNSF 2958, and BNSF 7577.

I don't know how much spare time I will have this week, so I may not see any more trains here. I'm glad I got a glimpse of them!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Rainy Day Meet

On my way from Moncton to Halifax airport on Friday, I decided to stop and shoot VIA 14, the eastbound Ocean, at Amherst. I had thought about Aulac, but the pouring rain dissuaded me from that. I set up at Amherst across from the station and waited.

At 13:07 VIA 6400 and 6424 rolled up to the station, towing a Renaissance train.
VIA 6400 and 6424 in Amherst, NS
The complete consist was VIA 6400, 6424, 7011, 7223, 7230, 7312, 7402, 7308, 7509, 7501, 7525, and 7512.
After dealing with the passengers, the Ocean backed up out of sight around the corner. Soon enough, they crawled up the siding past the station and went up to the east end of the siding to wait for CN 407. Here they are just after they passed the station.
VIA Ocean in Amherst
I relocated to get a shot of the Ocean meeting CN 407. At 13:33 CN 2519 appeared on the main line and rolled past the impatient VIA train. CN 2680 was the second unit on 407. You can see the Ocean to the right in this shot.
CN 2519 in Amherst
I saw 2519 in Winnipeg on August 16 of this year. Oddly enough, it was raining then too.

I didn't have time to look for VIA 15. No doubt they met VIA 14 somewhere like Folly Lake rather than the usual Belmont siding outside Truro.

Friday, November 06, 2009

CN 120 on Thursday

CN 120, Aulac
CN 120 was late Thursday morning, which gave me the chance to see it. I was traveling from Halifax to Moncton early in the morning and I caught it at Aulac, NB. I didn't have much time to set up so I wasn't able to pan the video camera to follow it, for fear of a very tilted horizon. I did grab a few stills as it went by at 07:27.
CN 7031
The power was old friend CN 5756, 2534, 2595, 5675, and GP9 7031.
CN 120, Aulac

Thursday, November 05, 2009

CP 1867

CP 1867 in Fredericton, February 8 1992. Photo by Brian Barchard
Brian Barchard emailed me after my post about NBEC 1867 and others sent for scrap and had this to say about CP 1867:

"Nice clear shot of NBEC 1867 on your blog today.

Here is a view of CAR Extra 1867 North, on the Gibson Sub, Feb. 08, 1992, with 20 cars.......6 tank, 4 box, 1 covered hopper, 9 2:30 pm, snowing at the time. RS-23 8042 was running mate to 1867.

1867 made four additional trips over the Gibson, my last recorded one being Feb.14, 1992. In fact, I sighted no more RS-18's, as RS-23's became the regular road power, to the end of service, Nov. 1993.

Thus, 1867, according to my extensive log book entries, was the last RS-18 to operate over the Gibson Sub."

Thanks for that, Brian!

CP 1867 was built as CP 8765 in April 1958 with a high hood. It was rebuilt by CP and renumbered to 1867 in 1989. It was sold to the New Brunswick East Coast Railway in April 1998.

There are only two photos of NBEC 1867 on RailPictures, one of mine and one B&W photo by Pat Schmidt. There are no photos of CP 1867 on RailPictures at all, and all the photos of CP 8765 on RailPictures are of the shiny new ES44AC.

I personally saw NBEC 1867 on 17 different days. It was an active unit in the NBEC fleet.

51 years old.. now off to be scrapped. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Orford Express

Orford Express RDC
David Morris sent along a few photos of the Orford Express, the tourist line that runs between Sherbrooke and Eastman in Quebec. They travel on the MM&A's Sherbrooke subdivision. I posted about their startup back in early 2006.

The Orford Express has one engine on its roster, #26 an MLW M-420TR built in 1972 (photo). As you can see from the photos, they also have two RDCs, specifically RDC-1 units 6121 Elyse and 6125 Thompson (ex-CN RDC-3 D100 and CP RDC-2 9199).

They have a single dome car #310, originally built in 1954 as Northern Pacific 310.
Orford Express RDCs and dome. Photo by David Morris

They seem to aim for the dinner train crowd, and the photos on their web site sure look tempting.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NBEC Power Update

NBEC 1867, Miramichi
NBEC 1867 in Miramichi, NB on September 14, 2004.

Canadian Railway Observations is reporting that ex-CFMG SD40 units 6902, 6903, and 6906-6910, as well as RS-18s ex-OCRR 1838, ex-NBEC 1857 and 1867 are all going to Alabama to be parted out and scrapped.

The last time I saw 1867 was on November 7, 2006 in Miramichi, in the middle of our War Bride train chase.

By the way, if you haven't read Canadian Railway Observations yet, you should really check it out.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halifax and the TEST Train

I'm in Halifax for the week, my first trip back to the right coast since I moved to Winnipeg this summer. After my plane landed on Sunday (November 1), I drove into the city and found myself driving to the CN Rockingham yard. Imagine that. I saw a few units at the yard office, notably including CN 9639 and the two-car TEST train. I shot this in the fading light around 5 PM.
CN 9639 and the TEST train, Halifax
The TEST train is CN's Track Evaluation SysTem, which does exactly what it says. They run it along the line and it reports defects in the rails.

Geoff Doane reported that it came into Halifax today as CN train 482. They ran out to Autoport on the end of the Dartmouth subdivision, then backed up to Windsor Junction, then ran to the end of the Bedford subdivision at Halterm (HOT) by the VIA station and turned on the loop track there, before testing the transfer track to Millview and backing to Rockingham.

I took video as it left at 18:50 but I'm not sure how well it will turn out. Night video is tricky and I wasn't really ready.

Also in the yard were CN 4805 and 4725, power for the locals.
CN 4805, Halifax

At about 19:00 the power for CN 121 came up from Fairview, with CN 5710, CN 5296, CN 2249 and CN 5609. It was too dark to take photos by that time.

I didn't hang around, since I had not had supper yet and I had to check in. I did chat with a couple of AtlanticRails members, Bruce and Doug, before heading out.

I don't know how much time I will have for railfanning while in Halifax... we'll see.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

GWWD 200

GWWD 200
I was running errands on Thursday (Oct 29) and I heard that the Greater Winnipeg Water District Railway (GWWD) might be out and about. I found GWWD 200 switching tank cars outside their yard on Dawson Road in the rain.

Once they put their tank cars away, they ran up to a switch to get ready to head to the yard.

Then they crossed Dawson Road to enter the GWWD yard in St. Boniface.

Despite the rain, I was pleased to see a GWWD unit moving!