Sunday, February 28, 2010

More VIA Derailment Photos

VIA 6400 damaged at derailment site. Photo by Bernard Babin
Bernard Babin took more photos at VIA derailment scene in St-Charles, Quebec (first set here) on Saturday, February 27.

I fear for VIA 6400. Maybe the damage is only to the cowl but it looks bad. In this photo you can see her trucks have been removed and she is sitting on the fuel tank and ends.
VIA 6400 without trucks at derailment site. Photo by Bernard Babin

Bernard's words: "All equipment is still present on site, the 6400 is standing in loco, cars are near the scene of the accident, in the siding. Note that two sleeping cars are there in the subdivision Levis, where the sub leaves Ultratrain Levis to get on Montmagny subdivision. The cars are very close to 0.68 MP not far from the crossing."
VIA 8507 and train at St-Charles, Quebec. Photo by Bernard Babin
It almost looks like a burn mark on the outside of the Skyline car under the "Canada".

By comparison, VIA 6457 looks pristine... but only by comparison. Still, from this photo the damage looks relatively superficial.
VIA 6457 at the accident scene. Photo by Bernard Babin

Thanks again to Bernard for the photos.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

VIA 15 Derailment Photos

Bernard Babin very kindly gave permission for me to post these photos of the VIA 15 derailment site. He and his friends went to the site a few hours after the derailment and took some photos in the falling snow.

Derailment scene. Photo by Bernard Babin
Workers at the scene of the derailment.

VIA 6400 on her side. Photo by Bernard Babin
VIA 6400 on her side. 6400 was the lead engine of the train. Note the ladder propped against the nose, probably to help the crew get out of the cab.

VIA Skyline car after derailment. Photo by Bernard Babin
The Skyline car and the coach were still upright after the derailment. Note the destruction to the house on the right, as well as the downed power lines.

VIA 8620 derailed. Photo by Bernard Babin
The junction of VIA 8620 and 8140. It's amazing that they stayed coupled together.

The train had the following consist: engines 6400 and 6457; baggage 8620; coach 8140; Skyline 8507; diner 8401 Acadian; and sleepers 8225 Chateau Rouville, 8211 Chateau Laselle, 8222 Chateau Richelieu.

The line was reopened the same day, around 6 PM local time.

Bernard and friends host the Trains en Gaspésie web site. Check it out!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wakefield Steam Train Vandalized

Thieves vandalized the Ottawa-Wakefield steam train this morning, according to this CBC story. They cut copper wiring off the locomotive. Two people were arrested nearby.

Copper thieves drive me crazy. They are a big problem. In my previous job, I heard stories of thieves breaking into power substations and cutting ground wires. This jeopardizes their safety and also the safety of workers, as those ground wires are there for a reason.

I hope the damage to the train is not too bad and can be easily repaired.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

VIA 15 Derailed

The westbound Ocean derailed near St-Charles-de-Bellechasse, near Quebec City, around 4:30 AM this morning. VIA 6457 and the rest of the train left the tracks and ended up in someone's backyard, upright.

There are conflicting reports about injuries. CBC is reporting 7 injuries out of 120 passengers and 7 crew. VIA is saying four passengers were transported to hospital. The occupant(s) of the house are OK but the house is definitely damaged.

Michel Boudreau reports that he saw the train in Bathurst with VIA 6457, 6400 and the stainless steel set (1 baggage 1 coach, 1 Skyline, 1 diner and 3 sleepers). An AtlanticRails members' daughter was on the train and said the Skyline is on its side or leaning badly.

There are no reports yet on why the train derailed. This is the Google Map for the area.

CBC article, Montreal Gazette

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Distributed Railfanning

Remember I posted that I saw the Hudson Bay yesterday? Well, it turns out that two other Manitoba railfans saw the same train, farther along the line.

Mark Perry saw it next in Dauphin, MB, still on time.

Next, Clayton Chaloner saw it in Grandview, MB in fading light.

Here is the video I took of the train in Winnipeg.

For some reason, this reminds me of the July 2006 VIA detour on the Napadogan sub. I had shot the westbound Ocean in Moncton, not realizing it was about to detour over the Napadogan subdivision due to a derailment in St. Noel, Quebec. My good friend Peter Gough shot it in McGivney. It's always interesting to see other railfans' shots of the same train you saw in different locations.

Fire at the Gaspé Station

There was a major fire at the Gaspé VIA station early Tuesday morning. The Quebec police believe that someone attempted to open the safe with a pipe, and perhaps set the fire to cover their tracks. The waiting room and office building are damaged and the damage is estimated at $100,000. Article with picture

This is not expected to affect operation of the Chaleur.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Action at St. James Junction

I went up to St. James Junction in the bitter cold to see the Hudson Bay today. On my way there I noticed a northbound CP train waiting to cross the diamond. There were a couple of railfans camped out there, as well as a stopped train on the north track. It turns out the train was CN 314, stopped just short of Waverley Street. Shortly a set of headlights could be seen on the south track and the Hudson Bay was upon us with five-eyed VIA 6438 leading the way.
VIA 6438 and the Hudson Bay in Winnipeg
You can find the Complete consist here
VIA Chateau Viger at the tail of the Hudson Bay

CN 314 cleared the junction soon after the Hudson Bay went by, and then the CP northbound came through, with CP 3028 and 1128 pulling a relatively short train of about 15 cars. It had one unusual car, a depressed center QTTX car.

Soon enough CN 115 showed up, rolling by with CN 8885, CN 5675 and CN 5727 pulling a whopping 156 cars. 114/115 have junk cars at the head end before the containers, much like the former CN 148/149 did in the Maritimes.

Within 10 minutes another train rolled by. This was CN 198, fresh from Prince Rupert with a solid container train. I just stayed long enough to shoot the head end, CN 2542 and ex-BC Rail 4650.
CN 2542 in Winnipeg

By this time, both my video camera and still camera were complaining of low batteries (due to the cold). Time to leave!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Visit to the CP Winnipeg Yards

I had a couple of hours to kill Sunday afternoon (Feb 21). Of course my mind turned to railfanning. I decided to go see what was up in CP's yards downtown, since I see a lot more CN in my travels than CP.

I first went to see the shops, visible from the field off Gallagher Street off Logan Avenue. There were quite a few locomotives there, but the most notable was old SW1200 CP 1251. I didn't see much of it as it was behind the CP 1127-3027 set. Olympic CP 8864 was there as well.

While I was watching, a switching crew brought old friend CP 5756 and a string of freight cars past.

Soon enough, a container train rolled in from the north side of the yard with CP 9566, CP 9592, and shiny blue CEFX 3184 (an ex-BN SD40-2) for power. I had a good look at them before CP 5756 came back with their cars to block the view.

After that, I drove over to the Arlington Street bridge and took a walk on the east side to shoot some of the power at the fuel stand. There were a few pairs of switchers working the yard, including a few SOO units - sadly repainted to CP red. I like the white SOO scheme.

Of course, the usual crowd of pigeons was around. Strange to see them on autoracks... normally they are on the grain cars.
Pigeons on freight cars

A couple of switcher pairs rolled under the bridge and I scrambled to shoot them. I haven't processed that video yet but they will be up on my YouTube account soon.

As always, you can go to my railway database to see the complete list of engines I saw on Sunday.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Across the Floodway

CN 2549 leading train 346
I had about an hour to railfan yesterday, so I decided to head over to Symington Yard to see what was happening. There was one set of GP38s and slugs working the hump yard, but when I saw a train heading out on the Sprague subdivision, I knew I had to chase it.

I have wanted to shoot a train going over the Red River Floodway for some time now. The CN bridge on the Sprague subdivision is pretty impressive and of course all scenes are improved with a train in them.

I drove across the Floodway and took the next road off, which leads to some kind of construction business. I parked off the road and headed out into the brush with tripod and cameras. The snow isn't too deep, and only came up to my knees in a few places. After a bit I found a place where some ATVs have been running and it made the going easier. I set up and waited for CN 346 to arrive.

This train had some old power on it, with Dash-9 CN 2549 and two Dash-8s, CN 2415 and CN 2451. And a nice wave from the conductor!

I'd like to go back there in the summer and try to get a bit closer to the bridge next time. I think it will make a nice shot with some sun.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More on CN 6765

I have written before about CN/VIA 6765, because I have a number board from her. Eric Gagnon of the fantastic blog Trackside Treasure sent along the times he saw that unit, as well as two pictures he kindly shared with me (and now you).

Eric first saw the unit on July 18, 1976 on an eastbound passenger train. At that time it was in red and white CN colours. Here's one of Eric's shots from July 24, 1976 just east of Napanee, Ontario on train 44.
CN 6765 near Napanee, photo by Eric Gagnon
He saw it a few more times, the last on September 11, 1976. At that point it must have been repainted to the blue and gold VIA colours, because the next time he saw it on December 19, 1976 it was in the VIA livery.

He saw it in and around Kingston, Ontario many times in the next few years. Here's a shot at the Kingston station with CN 6618 and CN 6530 (all in VIA colours) on March 24, 1977.
VIA 6765 at Kingston, Ontario. Photo by Eric Gagnon

It was on the Canadian several times in 1982, 1983 and 1984. The last time Eric saw it was on August 29, 1986 on an evening eastbound train.

Thanks for the information and photos, Eric. Make sure you go read his blog - it is my favourite train blog.

Friday, February 19, 2010

CSX in Grand Rapids

Here's another impressive video from mygirl22ward. Lots of action from 1993 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, including CP, CSX, Seaboard Systems, and more. I'm not a huge fan of American railways but I liked this video a lot.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Catch the Wave

IC 2708 in Winnipeg
On Tuesday (Feb 16) I went up to Wilkes Avenue to catch the Hudson Bay aka "the Winnipeg-Churchill train" as VIA is fond of calling it now. Bleah.

I didn't see the Hudson Bay but I did see a CN westbound freight train. It was headed by IC 2708 and had ex-BC Rail 4614 trailing, with an eclectic mix of freight cars following.

The engineer and the conductor both waved as they went by. I feel bad I didn't wave back, but I was busy with the camera. I should just wave every time.
Wave from IC 2708
Thanks for the wave!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Louis Riel Day

I chose to celebrate Manitoba's unique Holiday, Louis Riel Day (Feb 15), by railfanning. Come to think of it, I would choose to celebrate almost every holiday that way if I could. But anyway...

The kids and I went up to Wilkes Avenue to see if we could shoot the Canadian. On the way, we passed over CN 523 at Pembina. 523 had a single unit and was heading south at about 11:45.

We exited the Perimeter Highway and I went to my favourite spot at La Fleche Road, to find fellow railfans Jeff and Doug there. After socializing with them for a bit, we decided to head west to Diamond to get some wide-open prairie shots. The three of us parked our cars alongside the road and waited.

Soon enough, we heard CN 312 approaching from the west. It threw up a good cloud of snow as it approached at 12:30.
CN 2527 and train 312
As it drew closer, we realized that this train had a very interesting consist. CN 2527 was the leader, but former Illinois Central 1010 was the second unit and former Wisconsin Central 2006 was the third! This was the first time I had seen a WC unit.
WC 2006, IC 1010, and CN 2527
Here's the video. The engineer gave us one long blast on the horn.

We settled down to wait for the Canadian, but the next westbound was another freight, CN 115. This was a long one - 156 cars, just over 10,000 feet and just over 10,000 tons. The power on this one was more conventional - CN 8857, CN 5611 and CN 2684.

Three toots from the engineer!

It was almost anticlimactic to see the Canadian after that! A very conventional VIA 1 showed up at 13:10 with Spiderman VIA 6401 on the point.

Two toots from that engineer.

That was enough for my kids, so we headed off to a late lunch. Nice of all three engineers to give us a toot!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Olympics

I'm busy watching the Olympics (go Canada!), so I haven't been out railfanning. I have enjoyed watching our athletes compete and so far Jennifer Heil and Kristina Groves have done Canada proud. I'll leave you with this Olympic video... CP GE Evolution unit 8872 in Olympic colours rolling through Chaplin, SK in the summer of 2008.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Videos from February 12

Here are the videos for the two trains I saw on February 12.

First, VIA 2:

Then CN 199:

VIA 2 in Daylight

VIA 6441 leads the late Canadian into Winnipeg
One of the few train-watching problems in Winnipeg is that the eastbound Canadian is almost always in darkness. It is scheduled to arrive at 20:30, meaning that only in the longest days of June will it arrive in daylight. In fact, I haven't seen VIA 2 in daylight in Winnipeg since 2004.

On Friday (Feb 12) I was getting an early lunch at 11:15, and shooting CN 199, when I heard that VIA 2 was passing through Portage la Prairie. It was late due to Thursday morning's derailment near the MB-SK border. I knew that it would take the Canadian about an hour to get from Portage to Winnipeg, so I intended to catch them at 12:15ish. I was a bit late leaving and I arrived at CN Waverley at 12:35 to see the Canadian changing from the north to the south track just west of Waverley Street. Just in time!
Inspection of VIA Canadian
A maintenance-of-way (MOW) crew gave the Canadian an inspection as it went by, as per Canadian Rail Operating Rules rule 110.

"When duties and terrain permit, at least two crew members of a standing train or transfer and other employees at wayside must position themselves on the ground on both sides of the track to inspect the condition of equipment in passing trains and transfers. When performing a train or transfer inspection, the locomotive engineer will inspect the near side. When a group of wayside employees is present, at least two employees must perform the inspection."

VIA 2's consist was: engines 6441 and 6412; deadhead sleeper 8327 (FRASER MANOR); baggage 8609; coach 8119; Skyline 8512; diner 8409 FAIRHOLME; sleepers 8308 BLISS MANOR, 8314 CAMERON MANOR, 8328 GRANT MANOR, and 8215 CHATEAU LEMOYNE; and 8718 YOHO PARK.

Oh, I mentioned I saw CN train 199... it had Dash-9 CN 2666 leading and sister CN 2597 in second position. I saw CN 2666 a few times in and near Saint John in early 2006 - it was the lead unit on CN 305 on January 21.
CN 2666 leading train 199

Friday, February 12, 2010

News About the CN Derailment

The Winnipeg Free Press has an article about the stranded VIA passengers. There are some interesting details about the number of passengers carried. VIA 1 (stuck in Winnipeg) had 85 passengers, while VIA 2 (stuck in Melville SK) had 41 passengers. The article states that the westbound Canadian was scheduled to leave at 10 PM last night.

The CBC has an article as well, with some great photos of the derailment. Apparently the westbound train had 99 cars, all potash, and 56 of those derailed in a spectacular fashion in Daly MB. Fortunately noone was injured and there are no dangerous goods involved.

Another New BNSF Unit in Winnipeg

BNSF 3028 in Winnipeg Manitoba
A new (to Winnipeg) BNSF unit arrived on Wednesday (Feb 10), as reported by Jeff Keddy. I saw it Thursday noon at the BNSF yard off Taylor Avenue.
BNSF 3028 in Winnipeg Manitoba
BNSF 2978 didn't last long! It arrived on January 5.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

CN Derailment

A CN potash train derailed on the Rivers subdivision in Manitoba, near the border with Saskatchewan. Trains are now being diverted on the Prairie North line over the Gladstone and Togo subdivisions. Clayton Chaloner spotted CN 115 with CN 2288, 8857, 5506 and 156 cars (photo).

It was reported that there were 12 westbound trains lined up out of Dauphin this afternoon. The Canadian was being held in Winnipeg. Too bad... I wanted to see it as it had four deadhead cars on the head end.

I saw train 114 stopped at the Perimeter Highway west of Winnipeg. I believe they were held there because there was no room for them in Symington Yard. CN 2300 and 6003 were the power.
CN 2300 in Winnipeg

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gaspe Trains in 1983

David Morris shot a few trains along the Gaspe peninsula back in 1983. Here are three of his photos.

The first shows a CN RS-18 leading train 118 at Carleton, Quebec on March 6, 1983.
CN 3663 at Carleton. Photo by David Morris
The train had this consist:
CN 3663 (RS-18)
VIA 15422 (steam generator car)
VIA 9622 (baggage)
VIA 5718 (Dayniter)
VIA 3236 (coach with snack bar)
VIA 5490 (coach)

The second photo shows VIA train 622 at the Cascapedia station on May 28, 1983.
VIA RDC 6218 at Cascapedia station
The train had two RDCs, VIA 6218 (RDC-2) and VIA 6118 (RDC-1). Cascapedia was a flag stop at this point in time.

At the time, trains 118/119 and 621/622 were Matapedia-Gaspe trains, while the Chaleur (16/17) ran between Montreal and Gaspe.

The final photo shows an extra train on the bridge at Cascapedia, Quebec on May 29, 1983. This would not be far from the previous photo.
VIA 6530 at Cascapedia, Quebec by David Morris
Note the white flags on the engine (signifying an extra), and the two-level bridge. Vehicles used to drive under the trains on this bridge. When I visited Cascapedia there was another, newer bridge for vehicles.

This train had the following consist:
VIA 6530 (GMD FP9A)
VIA 9477 (baggage-dormitory)
VIA 9628 (baggage)
VIA 5584 (coach)
VIA 5653 (coach)
VIA 3034 (cafe-lounge)

I believe this was the former train 119, returning to Matapedia. Trains 118/119 do not show in the May 29, 1983 VIA timetable so I think David must have shot the last train 118 on the Gaspe.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Busy Times in Grand Forks

Our family made a quick trip to Grand Forks, North Dakota this past weekend for 48 hours and 10 minutes, to do some shopping. The weather was not fantastic but we made it there and back safely.

On the way down, we saw CN 532 coming into Emerson around 16:50 with three units on the head end (including an SD40 in the middle position) and about 70 mixed cars. I was not able to stop to take any shots.

I managed to get out to do some railfanning on Saturday afternoon (Feb 6). I went up to the BNSF yard on Demers Avenue and saw the Amtrak shack. It is an unremarkable building!
Amtrak station in Grand Forks North Dakota

Things got busy pretty quickly. I saw a train heading west out of the yard and moved back to the Amtrak depot to shoot it... until I realized it was going down the east leg of the wye to head south. I quickly drove over to the crossing and shot it there at 12:30.

It went on and on. I gave up shooting about a dozen cars from the end.

I noticed a BNSF unit shunting in the yard, BNSF 2973. It looked like a close relative to BNSF 2978, which used to be in Winnipeg until very recently. There were two big units by the BNSF shops, one of which was BNSF 5498.
BNSF 5498 in Grand Forks
There were NO TRESPASSING signs everywhere, so I shot this from just off the road. I couldn't see the other unit's number without trespassing.

I saw a short freight coming east into the yard at 13:20, and made an attempt to film it. I haven't looked at the footage yet but I think it will not be good! The train had BNSF 2969 and BNSF 2735 on the head end.

Shortly after that, another train arrived in the yard from the north at 13:30, with BNSF 2731 and BNSF 3037 for power.

On the way back to Winnipeg on Sunday, I saw CN 533 rolling north around Ste Agathe, MB with a single unit on the head end and about 50 grain cars. It was dark, snowy and windy so I did not stop to shoot it.

I look forward to my next visit to Grand Forks!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Traffic Jam

I went out at lunch to shoot the Canadian at Waverley Street. It turns out there was a bit of a traffic jam on the CN Rivers subdivision. When I arrived at Waverley, an eastbound intermodal was rolling by with 8819? on the tail end. When it passed, I saw another eastbound stopped on the north track east of the crossover switch. There was a CN MOW crew doing work on the crossover switch on the north track. I waited for a bit, and the Canadian showed up at 12:30.
VIA 6424 and the Canadian, Winnipeg
The Canadian's consist was:
VIA 6424
VIA 6440
VIA 8616
VIA 8107
VIA 8503
VIA 8411 Imperial
VIA 8319 Dawson Manor
VIA 8301 Abbot Manor
VIA 8321 Draper Manor
VIA 8209 Chateau Iberville
VIA 8707 Kokanee Park
VIA Kokanee Park
Once they passed, the eastbound freight left, and there was nothing in sight.

For those keeping score, this is the 22nd Canadian I have seen since moving to Winnipeg six months ago. Time flies when you're having fun!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Pense Grain Elevator

Viterra grain elevator at Pense SK
I was railfanning outside Regina in August 2008 and took a few photos of the Viterra grain elevator at Pense, Saskatchewan.
Grain elevator in Pense SK
Of course, we all know that grain elevators look best with a train in front of them, so...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Dugald Grain Elevator

Dugald grain elevator
When I was out on February 3, I took some shots of the grain elevator in Dugald, Manitoba, a little east of Winnipeg on the CN Reddit subdivision. It does not look like this elevator is still in production.
Dugald grain elevator
You can see that the Manitoba Pool / Agricore logo was removed.
Dugald grain elevator
There is quite a bit of information on the elevator here. This elevator was built in 1949 shortly after the tragic Dugald train accident.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Sanford Grain Elevator

Sanford grain elevator
I mentioned I had shot a CEMR train near Sanford, MB. After the train went by, I took some shots of the elevator itself.

As you can see from the next picture, the elevator is active and has its own siding.
Grain elevator at Sanford MB

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Sunset Shooting

CP 9527 is the DPU unit in train 114
The kids and I went over to the east side of Winnipeg late Wednesday afternoon. I wanted to take pictures of the grain elevator in Dugald, and I was hoping a train would come by when I was there. No train came by, so I went up to see what was happening with CP.

There was nothing visible when I got to Day Street, so I looked in the CEMR yard. I saw CEMR 4013 looking as bad as she did back in October 2009, now with a tarp half off the back end. ANY 5232 and ex-CP 5396 were there as well. CP 3027 and CP 1127 were idling together in CP's North Transcona yard.

Back at Day Street, a headlight was visible to the west. It turned out to be CP 114, rolling out with CP 9729 on the head end and CP 9527 as the DPU unit. It was 4:50 PM and the sun was quickly setting.

After that, we headed toward home. I saw CN 5557 and CN 8863 at the head of a train in Symington Yard when we passed. Funny to see an old unit like 5557 leading.

The sun was a red ball near the horizon, but with a weird flame-like distortion above it. I had to stop and take a picture. Prairie sunsets are often quite beautiful.
Prairie sunset

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


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Monday, February 01, 2010

CN and VIA Today

I went up to St. James Junction to shoot the Canadian today, and as often happens, I got a bonus train.

When I arrived at the Junction, I saw BNSF was waiting to leave their yard. The caboose was on the head end of a series of cars, and the power was somewhere at the other end. They were close enough to Taylor Avenue to trigger the crossing bells, so their ringing provided a background to my train watching.

A CN westbound freight rolled by at 12:15 on the south track. CN 2256 and 5648 headed up a set of empty centerbeam flats, followed by a long string of container cars.
CN 2256 in the snow in Winnipeg

I see a lot of ES44DC units in Winnipeg, but 2256 rang a bell for some reason. Looking in my railway sightings database, I see I saw that unit back on October 23, 2009 on another westbound freight. I've seen CN 5648 before too, back on August 21, 2009.

Anyway, enough nostalgia. The Canadian came along at 12:26, close to 15 minutes late.
VIA 6418 and the Canadian, Winnipeg
The complete consist: five-eyed VIA 6418, VIA 6404, VIA 8605, VIA 8117, VIA 8502, VIA 8414 Palliser, VIA 8326 Franklin Manor, VIA 8338 Rogers Manor, VIA 8336 Monck Manor, VIA 8219 Chateau Montcalm, VIA 8710 Prince Albert Park.

After the Canadian passed, BNSF did not seem like they were going to head out anytime soon, so that was the end of train watching for me.
VIA's Prince Albert Park in Winnipeg

CP 4563 Video

mygirl22ward posted a video of a CP freight with CP 4563 and 4573 (trailing CP 5627) in Grand Rapids, Michigan in September 1994. CP 4563 definitely looked the worse for wear here.